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From life-size portrait l>\ H\KK< 
in Bristol Museum. 

By permission of the Committee of the Museum 
and Art Gallery. 

Founder of the Brahma Samaj. 









All rights reserved 


Set up and electrotyped. Published February, 1915. 



J. 8. Gushing Co. Berwick & Smith Co. 
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 





TOWARDS the close of 1912 Dr. W. Douglas Mackenzie, 
President of Hartford Theological Seminary, Hartford, 
Conn., invited me to deliver, as Lamson Lecturer for 1913, 
a course of eight lectures on Modern Religious Movements 
in India. The subject was extremely attractive. It was 
clear that to bring these many movements together, ar 
range them in related groups, and set them forth as vary 
ing expressions of a great religious upheaval would be a 
far more illuminating piece of work than the description 
of them as units ever could be. But the difficulties in 
volved in the proposed investigation were so great that it 
was only after much inward questioning as to whether I 
ought to dare the task that I decided to attempt it. 

The first difficulty of the subject lies in the fact that the 
majority of these numerous and very varied movements, 
scattered over every part of India, have never been de 
scribed before. In the case of a few of the more note 
worthy, excellent monographs do exist. The following 
books and pamphlets proved of signal service in my inves 
tigation : 

Sastri, History of the Brahma Samdj (including the 
Prarthana Samaj); Griswold, art. Arya Samdj in ERE.; 
Griswold, The Chet Kami Sect ; Griswold, Mirza Ghuldm 
Ahmad, the Mehdl Messiah of Qadian ; Griswold, The 
Rddhd Swdml Sect ; Griswold, Pandit Agnihotri and the 
Deva Samdj ; Chirol, Indian Unrest. There are also sev- 



eral valuable biographical works notably, Max Miiller s 
RdmakrisJina, Prof. M. N. Gupta s Gospel of Srl-Rdma- 
krisJina, Dayananda s Autobiography, and SolovyofP s Mod 
ern Priestess of I sis, which enable the student to see, in a 
measure, the genesis of the movements to which they are 
related. But, apart from these two groups of good au 
thorities, it was necessary to conduct the investigation 
almost entirely by personal visits and interviews, or, less 
satisfactorily, by correspondence. By these means nearly 
all the fresh matter in the following chapters was gathered. 
A small amount of the new material comes from another 
source, viz., the apologetic and propagandist literature of 
the various movements ; but, with the exception of certain 
systematic statements of creed (e.g. Rddhd Sodmi Mat 
Prakdsh, A Dialogue about the Deva Samdj, and Lead- 
beater s Textbook of Theosophy\ these innumerable book 
lets, pamphlets and tracts in many tongues have provided 
only a scanty gleaning of significant facts. 

But the subject carries within it a still more intimate 
difficulty. Even if abundance of information were forth 
coming about any one of these most noteworthy uprisings 
of the Indian spirit, there would still remain the difficulty 
of understanding it, the possibility of totally misconceiving 
the forces that have created it, of fastening one s eyes on 
externals and failing to feel the beatings of the heart. 

Others must decide whether I did right in attempting 
the task, and how far I have succeeded in it. What 
weighed with me was the fact that my past experience had 
given me a partial preparation for the work, and that my 
present circumstances afford me unusual facilities for 
getting the necessary information. 

I spent in Calcutta eleven years as a Professor in a 
Missionary College and five as an Association Secretary 
among educated non-Christians. During those sixteen 
years I was constantly in touch with Chaitanyas, Brahmas, 


Aryas, Theosophists, followers of Ramakrishna and young 
men interested in other North India movements. Two 
pieces of work arose from this contact : Gltd and Gospel 
(1903), a booklet dealing with the Nee-Krishna Movement 
in Bengal, and art. Brahma Samdj in ERE. (1909). 

During the next five years my duties required me to 
travel all over India with little intermission and to deliver 
religious addresses in all the important towns. I was thus 
brought into personal contact with men of almost every 
type of religious belief ; while my one study was Hindu 

A recent modification of my work has given me special 
opportunities for interviewing individuals and learning 
facts with a view to these lectures. Fresh arrangements, 
made by Dr. J. R. Mott and the Committee in New York, 
have enabled me since the spring of 1912 to spend the 
summers in England in literary work and the winters in 
India lecturing and teaching. The invitation to give the 
Lamson Lectures reached me late in 1912. That winter 
I visited Bombay, Jubbulpore, Allahabad, Benares, Lahore, 
Calcutta, Puri, Madras, Conjeeveram, Bangalore, Mysore 
City, Palamcottah, Madura, Trichy, Tanjore, Kumbakonam, 
Pudukottai ; and almost everywhere I was able to have 
long conversations with intelligent men about the sect or 
movement they were interested in, to visit buildings, and 
to pick up literature and photographs. The summer of 
1913 was spent in Oxford, preparing the lectures. This 
enabled me to use the Bodleian Library and the British 
Museum and to consult many men in and about London 
who have special knowledge of certain of the movements 
dealt with. After delivering the lectures in Hartford, 
Conn., in October, 1913, I returned to India, and visited 
Poona, Hyderabad (Deccan), Bangalore, Madras, Trichy, 
Madura, Palamcottah, Nagarcoil, Trevandrum, Quilon, 
Calicut, Tellicherry, Calcutta, Jamalpore, Jubbulpore, 


Allahabad, Cawnpore, Lucknow, Agra, Lahore, Rajkot 
(Kathiawar), Bombay. I thereby gained much fresh infor 
mation, and was able to settle scores of questions which 
had arisen in my mind in the course of writing the 

Thus, one way or another, I have had personal inter 
course with adherents of all the movements described in 
this book, with the exception of a few of the smallest and 
most obscure. 

I have felt cramped for want of space. To deal with 
the whole subject adequately would have required two vol 
umes instead of one. I have thus been compelled to com 
press the matter very seriously everywhere. I trust this 
has not resulted in making my sentences and paragraphs 
unintelligible. It certainly has reduced the last chapter 
to rather an arid catalogue of facts. Necessarily, the eight 
lectures delivered in Hartford contained far less material 
than the book does. 

Though I have done my utmost to secure accuracy and 
to avoid misrepresentation, the movements are so varied 
and so intricate that there must be many omissions and 
mistakes. Criticism will therefore be very warmly wel 
comed. Letters calling attention to errors and omis 
sions, or suggesting fresh points of view, may be sent 
either to 86 College Street, Calcutta, or to Oxford. 

So many friends in every part of India, and also in 
England and America, have helped me in conversation 
and by correspondence that it would be impossible to make 
a complete list of them. I wish here, however, to express 
my heartfelt gratitude to every one who has given me per 
sonal assistance, whether much or little ; for, without them, 
the book could never have been written. I mention in 
the footnotes the names of those who have helped me 
at the most critical points, because in these cases it is 
necessary to give the source of my information. But my 


gratitude is quite as great to those whose names are not 

The portraits scattered through the text may help readers 
to seize in a more vivid way the character and tempera 
ment of the men and women who created these religious 
movements. A few of them are new, but all the others 
have been published before. Of these, some are quite well 
known ; but the rest, having appeared only in obscure 
Indian books and periodicals, must be quite new to the 
general reader. In any case it seems worth while bring 
ing them together as a series of religious leaders. 

I wish here to express my most grateful thanks to those 
whose kindness has made possible the publication of these 
portraits ; first to the following for gifts of photographs 
and leave to publish them : 

Donors Portraits 

The Committee of the Museum and Art 

Gallery, Bristol ..... Raja Ram Mohan Ray 
Mr. N. C. Sen, Private Secretary to the 

Maharani of Cooch Behar . . . Keshab Chandra Sen 

(father of the donor) 

Sir R. G. Bhandarkar .... His own 
Sir N. G. Chandavarkar . . . .His own 
Mr. M. N. Katrak, Bombay . . . Mr. K. R. Cama 
Dr. H. D. Griswold, Lahore . . . Mirza Ghulam Ahmad 
Mr. Sasipada Banerjea, Calcutta . . The symbolic picture, 

Plate X. 
Mr. Mansukhlal Ravjibhai Mehta, Bombay Mr. Rajchandra Ravjibhai 

(brother of the donor) 
Mr. G. K. Devadhar, Bombay . . . The Hon ble Mr. G. K. 

Gokhale, C.I.E. 

I owe very special thanks to Mr. Satyendra Nath Ta- 
gore, I. C. S., Retired, who gave me permission to take 
a photographer into the Tagore Residence, Calcutta, and 
photograph the beautiful portraits of his grandfather and 
father (Plates I and II). 


Grateful thanks are also due to the following for per 
mission given to publish photographs : 


Mrs. Ramabai Ranade, Poona . The late Mr. Justice Ranade 
The Arya Samaj, Lahore . . Svaml Dayananda Sarasvati 
The Radha Soami Satsahg . The gurus 
The Deva Samaj . . . The guru 
The Ramakrishna Mission . Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and 

Svaml Vivekananda 

The Theosophical Society . . Madame Blavatsky and Mrs. Besant 
Mr. Rabindra Nath Tagore . His own 

My debt to my friend Dr. H. D. Griswold of Lahore is 
very great ; for considerable sections of my third chapter 
are built upon his scholarly monographs mentioned above ; 
and he revised the whole work for me in manuscript. To 
him and to another friend, the Rev. John McKenzie of 
Bombay, who kindly did for me the troublesome work 
of revising the proofs, I offer my unfeigned gratitude and 

October 30, 1914. 




1. The^ Brahma Samaj 29 

2. The Prarthana Samaj . . . . . -74 

3. Parsee Reform ....... 81 

4. Muhammadan Reform . . . . 91 


1870-1913 ....... 101 

1. The Arya Samaj 101 

2. Sivanarayana Paramahamsa . . . .129 

3. The Vedic Mission 135 

4. A Castle in the Air 137 

i _ i .A. 5. The Ahmadiyas of Qadian . . . . .137 

6. The Nazarene New Church 148 

7. The Chet Ramls 150 

8. The IsamoshipanthTs 156 

9. The Radha Soami Satsang 157 

10. The Deva Samaj 173 

11. Two Minor Gurus 182 


1. Beginnings 186 

2. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa . . . .188 

3. Theosophy 208 

4. Sectarian Movements in Hinduism . . .291 

A. The Madhvas 

B. The Chaitanyas . 

C. The Sri-Vaishnavas 

D. Four Vaishnava Sects 

E. The Saiva Siddhanta 

F. The Lingayats 

G. The Left-hand Saktas 

. 291 
. 293 

Vaishnava . . 297 
. . . . 298 
. . . .299 
Saiva . .301 
. 303 

H. The Smartas 305 

Caste Organizations ...... 308 

A. Caste Conferences ..... 308 

B. The Tiyas . ^ . . . . .311 

C. The Vokkaligas . .. . .314 




6. The Bharata Dharma Mahamandala . 
7. The All-India Suddhi Sabha 


3 2 3 

3 2 4 



12. Sectarian Universities .... 

35 2 
. 355 

A U" 

2. Industry, Science, Economics 
3. Social and Political Service 
A. Help for the Depressed Classes 
B. Universal Education 
C. The Servants of India Society 
D. The Seva Sadan . 

. 366 
. 366 
. 380 
. 382 

5. Poetry 


. 387 
- 395 

i. Historical Outline . 
2. The National Social Conference . . . 
3. Female Infanticide 


6. Polygamy . . .-.-.. 

. 400 
. 401 

8. The Zenana 

9. Marriage Expenses 

10. Domestic Ceremonies . 

. 405 
. 406 
. 407 
. 407 

12. Education of Boys 
13. Education of Girls . . y? 3s J 
,4. Caste . . * ** <$#>* 
15. Temperance . . f 
1 6. Social Service 
17. The Criminal Tribes 

. 414 
/ 4i6 
>* . 418 
. 421 
. 422 
. 424 

. 459 





Raja Ram Mohan Ray, from the life-size portrait by Biggs in 
Bristol Museum. Reproduced by permission of the Com 
mittee of the Museum and Art Gallery . . . Frontispiece 


I. Prince Dvvarka Nath Tagore, from the life-size portrait by 

Baron de Schweter in the Tagore Residence, Calcutta 39 
II. Maharshi Debendra Nath Tagore, from the portrait by W. 

Archer, R. A., in the Tagore Residence, Calcutta . 44 

III. Keshab Chandra Sen 55 

Mr. Justice Ranade ....... 76 

Sir N. G. Chandavarkar ...... 76 

Sir R. G. Bhandarkar 76 

Kharshedji Rustamji Cama 76 

J Svami Dayananda SarasvatI . . . . .109 

{ Svami Dayananda SarasvatI . . . . .109 

VL Mirza Ghulam Ahmad . . . . . . .138 

The Wife of the First Radha Soami Guru . . .167 
The First Guru ........ 167 

The Second Guru 167 

The Third Guru 167 

VIII. Pandit S. N. Agnihotri, Guru of the Deva Samaj . . 177 
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa ...... 195 

Svami Vivekananda . . . . . . . 195 

Madame Blavatsky . . . . . . -195 

Mrs. Besant ........ 195 

X. Ramakrishna teaching Keshab the harmony of all re 
ligions ......... 198 

[ Rajchandra Ravjibhai . ...... 376 

XL The Hon ble Gopal Krishna Gokhale, C. I.E.. . 376 

[ Rabindra Nath Tagore 376 

Plans of rooms at Theosophic Headquarters . . . 234-235 


A Historical Retrospect. 
Chhajju Singh. 



Gospel of R. 



Miss Collet. 



Ranade, Essays. 


Sinnett, Incidents. 

Social Reform in Bengal. 

A Historical Retrospect of the Theosophical 

Society, by H. S. Olcott. 
The Life and Teachings of Swami Dayanand 

Saraswati, by Bawa Chhajju Singh. 
The Collapse of Koot Hoomi, a reprint of 

articles from the Madras Christian Col 
lege Magazine. 
Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies, 

by J. A. Dubois. 

Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. 
Gospel of Sri Rdmakrishna, by M. 
History of the Brahmo Samaj, by Siva 

Nath Sastri. 

The International Review of Missions. 
The Indian Social Reformer. 
History of the Parsees, by Dosabhai Framji 

Life and Letters of Raja Rammohun Roy, by 

Sophia Dobson Collet. 
A Modern Priestess of Isis, by V. S. 


Old Diary Leaves, by H. S. Olcott. 
Proceedings of the Society for Psychical 

Religious and Social Reform, A Collection 

of Essays and Speeches, by M. G. Ranade. 
A History of Missions in India, by Julius 

Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky, 

by A. P. Sinnett. 
Social Reform in Bengal, by Pandit Sita- 

natha Tattvabhushana. 



i. Our subject is Modern Religious Movements in India, 
that is, the fresh religious movements which have appeared 
in India since the effective introduction of Western influence. 
There are two great groups of religious facts the presence 
of which we must recognize continuously but which are 
excluded from our survey by the limitations of our subject. 
These are, first, the old religions of India, Hinduism, 
Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Muhammadanism, 
so far as they retain the form and character they had before 
the coming of Western influence ; and, secondly, Christian 
Missions, which are rather a continuation of Church History 
than a modern movement. The old religions are the soil 
from which the modern movements spring; while it will 
be found that the seed has, in the main, been sown by Mis 
sions. Thus, though these great systems are not included 
in our subject, we must, throughout our investigation, keep 
their constant activity and influence in mind. 

It seems clear that the effective interpenetration of India 
by the West began about 1800. The first fresh religious 
movement appeared in 1828; the intellectual awakening 
of India began to manifest itself distinctly about the same 


time ; and the antecedents of both go back to somewhere 
about the beginning of the century. The period we have 
to deal with thus extends from 1800 to 1913. 

In 1800 India was in a pitiable plight. Early Hindu 
governments seldom succeeded in securing settled peace 
even in the great central region of the country for any 
extended period of time ; but matters became much worse 
when the flood of Muhammadan invasion came at the end 
of the twelfth century. When the nineteenth century 
dawned, India had scarcely known peace for six hundred 
years. Even under the best of the Mughals there was 
frequent fighting, and a good deal of injustice ; under all 
other Muslim rulers there was practically constant war and 
frequent outbreaks of barbarity; while the eighteenth 
century piled misery on misery. It is heartbreaking to 
read descriptions of India at that time. 

We can now see that British supremacy began to assert 
itself with the battle of Plassey in 1757 ; yet the rulers had 
scarcely a definite policy until the opening of the new cen 
tury ; and, even then, Britain had not by any means awaked 
to the greatness and the splendour of the task set before her 
in India. We must never forget that the East India Com 
pany went to India exclusively for commerce, and that the 
British Empire sprang altogether from the necessity, which 
was only very gradually realized, of providing a settled and 
just government in order to make commerce possible. 

2. In 1800 Hinduism, which was the religion of at least 
three-fourths of the population of the peninsula, consisted, 
in the main, of two great groups of sects and a mass of 
wandering celibate ascetics, who were held to be outside 
society. The two great groups of sects are the Vishnuite and 
the Sivaite. The Vishnuite sects were very numerous, both 
in the North and in the South, and they were perhaps, on the 
whole, more homogeneous than the worshippers of Siva. The 


leading Vishnuite sects declare Vishnu to be the one God, and 
yet they recognize the existence of all the other divinities of 
the Hindu pantheon. They also hold that Vishnu has been 
incarnate among men a great many times, the latest and chief 
incarnations being Rama and Krishna. Worshippers of Siva 
declare that Siva is the one God, but recognize also all the 
other gods. A special group of Sivaite sects has to be noticed, 
namely, those who pay honour to the wife of Siva as Kali or 
Durga. Both Vishnuites andSivaites worship idols, but among 
Sivaites the phallic symbol is more usual than images of the 
god. Both sects worship their gurus, that is, their teachers, 
as gods. Both are fully orthodox in the sense that they retain 
and enforce with great strictness the ancient Hindu rules of 
conduct which are summed up under the word dharma. Both 
sects claim to be Vedantists, but each has its own interpreta 
tion of the philosophy. Around the Hindu community in 
every part of the country there lived multitudes of degraded 
Outcastes, held down in the dirt by Hindu law. They num 
ber about fifty millions to-day. 

When the century dawned, Hindus were in a pitifully back 
ward condition. Their subjugation by the Muhammadans 
about 1200 A.D. had been a very serious trampling under foot ; 
and, while the reasonable rule of the Mughals had given them 
a breathing-space, the terrific convulsions of the eighteenth 
century had more than undone all that had been recovered. 
Learning had almost ceased; ordinary education scarcely 
existed ; spiritual religion was to be met only in the quietest 
places ; and a coarse idolatry with cruel and immoral rites 
held all the great centres of population. The condition of 
South Indian Hinduism at the end of the eighteenth century 
is very vividly reflected in 1 Abbe Dubois famous work, and 
the Hinduism of the North at the beginning of the nineteenth 
in the writings of Ram Mohan Ray. The reader may make 
a rough guess at the state of the Hindu community from the 


long list of reforms, social and religious, which the early mis 
sionaries felt driven to demand 1 and which all the finer spirits 
within Hinduism have since then recognized as altogether 

Buddhism, which came to the birth about 525 B.C., attained 
extraordinary greatness before the Christian era, and during 
the next six centuries not only spread over the whole of Eastern 
and Southern Asia, but struggled with Hinduism for the pri 
macy in India. Thereafter it steadily declined in the land of 
its origin ; the Muhammadan conquest all but destroyed it ; 
and Hinduism gradually absorbed what remained. Thus 
there were practically no Buddhists in India proper at the 
opening of the nineteenth century ; but on the Himalayas, 
in Burma and in Ceylon the faith was still supreme. 

Jainism was originally an agnostic philosophy which arose 
a little earlier than Buddhism, and, like Buddhism, became 
transformed at an early date into a religion and a rival of 
Hinduism. By the beginning of our period the ancient Jain 
community had shrunk to small proportions. They were 
scattered over a large part of the country, and were wealthy 
and prosperous ; but there was no vigour in Jainism ; and 
there was a slow, continuous drift towards Hinduism ; so that 
the community was steadily dwindling in numbers. 

The Parsees are a small community of Zoroastrian Persians 
who fled from Persia to India in the eighth century A.D., and 
have since then remained a prosperous business community, 
very exclusive socially and very faithful to their ancient re 
ligion. They originally settled in Gujarat ; but, since early 
last century, Bombay has been their chief centre. 

In 1800 Muhammadanism in India was very orthodox and 
very ignorant, and was steadily deteriorating. The collapse 
of the Muhammadan governments and the steady fall of 
Muslim character had worked sad havoc in the religion itself. 

1 See p. 15. 


Muhammadans formed perhaps one-sixth of the population. 
They were necessarily discontented and crushed, having 
been conquered both by the Maratha Hindus and by the 
British. Yet they were not so cowed nor so weak as the 
Hindus. The British had entered into the heritage of their 
administration ; multitudes of Muslims were still government 
officials ; and Urdu, the hybrid tongue which had grown up 
as a medium of communication in the Muhammadan camp, 
was still the official language in the law-courts and elsewhere. 
The bulk of public education was thus still Muhammadan in 
character ; and what men studied most was the Persian and 
Urdu languages. Yet the Muslim community was steadily 
declining. There was no living movement of thought and no 
spiritual leader among them. 

3. Can we see what was the cause of the great Awakening 
which began about 1800 and since then has dominated the life 
and history of India ? How was the Muslim period so barren 
as compared with the nineteenth century? How is it that 
European influence produced practically no results between 
1500 and 1800? Why did the Awakening begin at that 
particular point ? 

The answer is that the Awakening is the result of the co 
operation of two forces, both of which began their character 
istic activity about the same time, and that it was quickened 
by a third which began to affect the Indian mind a little 
later. The two forces are the British Government in India as 
it learned its task during the years at the close of the eight 
eenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries, and 
Protestant Missions 1 as they were shaped by the Serampore 
men and Duff ; and the third force is the work of the great 
Orientalists. The material elements of Western civilization 
have had their influence, but, apart from the creative forces, 

1 Catholic Missions have been continuously of service, especially in edu 
cation, but they have had no perceptible share in creating the Awakening. 


they would have led to no awakening. The proof of all this 
will gradually unfold itself in our chapters. 

It was necessity that drove the East India Company to as 
sume governmental duties. They had no desire to rule India, 
far less to reform the intellectual, social and religious life of 
the people. They were driven to undertake first one and then 
another administrative duty, because otherwise they could 
not obtain that settled government and those regular financial 
arrangements without which profitable commerce is impossible. 
But every step they took led to another ; and gradually the 
conscience of Britain awoke and began to demand that India 
should be governed for the good of the people. It was during 
the last decades of the eighteenth century that the old trading 
company was gradually hammered into something like a 
government. The men who did the work were Clive, Hastings 
and Cornwallis. A succession of changes transformed its 
civil-servant traders, whose incomes depended on their business 
ability, into administrators living on a salary and strictly 
forbidden to make money by trading ; while the Government 
itself steadily assumed new functions, and grew in knowledge 
of the people. 

Protestant missionary history in India opens with the 

Danish Mission, which did very remarkable work in the 

Tamil country throughout the eighteenth century; but it 

was the toil of Carey and his colleagues that roused first 

> Britain and then America and the Continent to a sense of their 

l duty to the non-Christian peoples of the world. William 

j Carey, an English Baptist, arrived in Calcutta on the nth 

\ November, 1793, and, after many wanderings, settled as an 

indigo-planter near Malda in North Bengal. Here he studied 

Bengali and Sanskrit, began the work of translating the Bible 

into Bengali, gained his experience and developed his methods. 

In 1800 he settled in Serampore under the Danish flag ; and 

in the same year he began to teach Sanskrit and Bengali in 


Lord Wellesley s College in Calcutta. Then it was not long 
before the wiser men both in Missions and in the Government 
began to see that, for the immeasurable task to be accom 
plished, it was most necessary that Missions should take ad 
vantage of the advancing policy of the Government and that 
Government should use Missions as a civilizing ally. For 
the sake of the progress of India cooperation was indispen 

The rise of Orientalism is contemporaneous with the be 
ginnings of good government in North India and with the 
development of the new Mission propaganda, but it did not 
touch the Indian mind until later. 1 It was Warren Hastings 
who took the steps which led to Europeans becoming ac 
quainted with Sanskrit and Hinduism. By his orders a 
simple code of Hindu law was put together and translated 
into English in 1776. In 1785 Charles Wilkins, who had 
been roused to the study of Sanskrit by Hastings, published 
a translation of the BhagavadgUa ; and Sir William Jones, the 

1 At first sight it seems very extraordinary that our real knowledge of 
India should have begun so late. Europe has known of India superficially 
from time immemorial ; and from a very early date Indians have had scraps 
of information about the West. Long centuries before the Christian era, 
it seems certain that Solomon sent his navy from the Gulf of Akabah to 
Western India ; and Indian merchants sailed to the Persian Gulf and brought 
home Babylonian goods and ideas. The conquest of the Panjab by Darius 
the Persian brought a small amount of knowledge to Greece; and Alex 
ander s matchless raid led to the establishment of direct communication 
between India and the Greek kingdoms. Roman traders carried on large 
commerce with the mouths of the Indus, and also with Southern India, in 
the first and second centuries A.D. Occasionally travellers from the West 
penetrated to India during the Middle Ages; and a great trade both by 
caravan and by sea went on uninterruptedly. Modern intercourse begins 
with Vasco da Gama, the famous Portuguese explorer, who sailed round 
the Cape of Good Hope and reached the coast of India at Calicut in Malabar 
in 1498. From that date onward, Portuguese, Dutch, French and English 
went to India by sea, and a large trade was carried on ; yet until the end of 
the eighteenth century no serious attempt was made to understand India 
and its civilization. 


first great -Sanskritist, published in 1789 a translation of 
Sakuntala, the finest of all Indian dramas. Another Eng 
lishman, named Hamilton, happened to be passing through 
France on his way home, in 1802, and was arrested. During 
his long involuntary stay in Paris he taught Sanskrit to 
several French scholars and also to the German poet, Fried- 
rich Schlegel. Thus was the torch handed on to Europe. 
The discovery of Sanskrit led to a revolution in the science 
of language. About the same time English scholars began the 
study of the flora and fauna of India, and also of her people. 1 
4. But, though history has shown decisively that it was the 
British Government and Protestant Missions working to 
gether that produced the Awakening of India, we must note 
carefully that, at the outset, the Government vehemently 
opposed Missions. In order to understand their attitude, we 
must realize that their only object was trade, and that it was 
purely for the safeguarding of their trade that they had inter 
fered with the politics of the land. In consequence, they re 
garded themselves as in every sense the successors of the old 
rulers and heirs to their policy and method, except in so far 
as it was necessary to alter things for the sake of trade. There 
was another point. They had won their territory by means of 
an Indian army composed mainly of high-caste Hindus, who 
were exceedingly strict in keeping all the rules of caste and of 

1 We ought also to mention the wonderful work done by two Frenchmen. 
Anquetil du Perron went to India and ultimately prevailed upon the Parsee 
priests to teach him the language of the Avesta. He brought his Mss. and 
his knowledge to Europe in 1771, and thus became the pioneer of Zoroastrian 
research in the West. Four years later he translated into Latin a Persian 
version of a number of the Upanishads, produced under the orders of a 
Mughal Prince in the seventeenth century. It was through his almost 
incomprehensible Latin that Schopenhauer received his knowledge of the 
Vedanta philosophy. L Abbe Dubois, a Catholic missionary who lived 
and wandered in the Tamil country from 1792 to 1823 wrote Hindu Manners, 
Customs and Ceremonies, one of the most vivid and reliable descriptions of 
a people that has ever been penned. 


religious practice. Further, every competent observer was 
deeply impressed with the extraordinary hold Hinduism had 
upon the people. Every element of life was controlled by it. 1 
In consequence, the Government believed it to be necessary, 
for the stability of their position, not merely to recognize the 
religions of the people of India, but to support and patronize 
them as fully as the native rulers had done, and to protect 
their soldiers from any attempt to make them Christians. 
Accordingly, they adopted three lines of policy from which, 
for a long time, they stubbornly refused to move : 2 

a. They took under their management and patronage a 
large number of Hindu temples. They advanced money for 
rebuilding important shrines and for repairing others, and 
paid the salaries of the temple officials, even down to the cour 
tesans, which were a normal feature of the great temples of 
the South. 3 They granted large sums of money for sacrifices 
and festivals and for the feeding of Brahmans. Salvoes of 
cannon were fired on the occasion of the greater festivals ; 
and government officials were ordered to be present and to 
show their interest in the celebrations. Even cruel and im 
moral rites, such as hook-swinging, practised in the worship 
of the gods, and the burning of widows, were carried out under 
British supervision. In order to pay for all these things, a 
pilgrim- tax was imposed, which not only recouped the Govern 
ment for their outlay, but brought them a handsome income 
as well. Reformers in England and India found it a long and 
toilsome business to get this patronage of idolatry by a Chris 
tian Government put down. The last temple was handed 
over as late as 1862. 

1 During the many years that I studied Hindu customs I cannot say that 
I ever observed a single one, however unimportant and simple, and, I may 
add, however filthy and disgusting, which did not rest on some religious 
principle or other. Dubois, p. 31. 

2 Richter, 185-192. 

3 See below, pp. 408-9. 


b. They absolutely refused to allow any missionary to settle 
in their territory. Carey got a footing in Bengal by becoming 
an indigo-planter ; and he was not able to devote his whole 
time and energy to Christian work, until he settled at Seram- 
pore, twelve miles north of Calcutta, under the Danish flag. 
Many missionaries, both British and American, landed in 
India, only to be deported by the authorities. This policy 
was reversed by Act of Parliament in 1813. 

c. They refused to employ native Christians in any capacity, 
and they enforced all the rigours of Hindu law against them. 
In the Bengal army, if any native soldier wished to become a 
Christian, he was forcibly prevented by the authorities ; or, 
if by any chance he became baptized, he was expelled from the 
service. This fierce prejudice was so strong even at the time 
of the Mutiny that the services of thousands of Indian Chris 
tians were refused by the Government. 

Yet from quite an early date there was a certain amount of 
collaboration between the Government and Missions. When 
Lord Wellesley founded, in 1800, the College of Fort William 
in Calcutta, to give his young Indian Civilians a training in 
Indian languages and literature, Carey was the only man who 
could be found to teach Sanskrit and Bengali. He was 
accordingly appointed Professor ; and for many years, though 
his chief work was in Serampore, he spent one-half of each 
week in Calcutta, lecturing to Indian Civilians in the morning, 
and preaching to the poor in the evening. Government also 
took advantage of the Mission Printing Press at Serampore, 
where, for the first time in history, Indian languages were 
printed in their own script ; and they departed in one instance 
from their strict rule of deporting every missionary landing 
in India, because the new man was a skilled type-founder, 
and was about to cut, for the mission, Chinese type which the 
Government would be glad to use. At a later date the great 
problem of education drew the Government and Missions 


The present wise policy of absolute religious neutrality 
was not reached until 1857, when, in the throes of the Mutiny, 
the East India Company came to an end, and the home Gov 
ernment became directly responsible for India. Since that 
moment, though many individual government officers, both 
civil and military, have misinterpreted British neutrality to 
mean what it certainly meant under the Company, namely, 
favour to the old religions and opposition to Christian work, 
yet the attitude of Government as such has been right. Every 
Christian to-day ought to rejoice that the policy of strict 
neutrality was adopted when India came under the Crown. 
Some people wished the Government to take a definite 
stand in favour of Christianity and to use its money and in 
fluence for the bringing of India into the Church ; but it is 
as clear as noonday that that could have brought only disas 
ter to the cause of Christ. No government can ever do the 
work of the Church ; the government official as such cannot 
be an Apostle. 

5. This discussion will enable us to sympathize with a num 
ber of ideas which have been influential in certain sections of 
Anglo-Indian society for a hundred and fifty years, and are 
still held by some. We can see how it is that men in business 
and in government have come to believe that we had better 
not touch the religion and civilization of India, that it is im 
possible to alter them, or to produce any lasting influence on 
Indian thought, and that every attempt to introduce change 
is bad for the people, on the one hand, and a grave danger 
to British trade and government, on the other. 

It is well to notice that from time to time men of scholar 
ship and character have held to the old policy and ideas in 
these matters. Horace Hayman Wilson, the famous Sanskrit 
scholar, was opposed to Bentinck s abolition of sati, 1 and 
seriously believed that it would cause the Government grave 

1 Below, p. 17. 


difficulty. 1 As a matter of fact, Bentinck s judgment was 
justified. No difficulty of any kind arose. Many noteworthy 
persons, and masses of business men throughout the nine 
teenth century have been opposed to educating the Indian. 
Lord Ellenborough, when Governor- General, 

regarded the political ruin of the English power as the inevitable 
consequence of the education of the Hindus. 2 

Many a business man in Calcutta echoes this belief to-day, 
but no serious statesman holds such an opinion. Here is how 
the attitude of the people of Calcutta to missions was described 
in 1812 : 

All were convinced that rebellion, civil war, and universal 
unrest would certainly accompany every attempt to promote 
missionary enterprise, and, above all, that the conversion of a 
high-caste native soldier would inevitably mean the disbanding 
of the army and the overthrow of British rule in India. 3 

Gradually the policy of Government was brought into conso 
nance with the political and religious convictions of the people 
of Britain ; yet, in circles little touched by Christian enthu 
siasm and democratic feeling, the old ideas still persist, and 
find frequent expression in conversation and public addresses, 
in articles and books. 

Probably no thinking man to-day believes that Western 
influence is producing no serious effect on the Indian mind ; 
yet we must not forget that one of the greatest publicists who 
ever lived and wrote in India, Meredith Townsend, held, 
throughout a long life, that all the efforts of Britain to modify 
Indian thought and behaviour were absolutely hopeless. 
Here are two brief quotations from his volume of Essays, 
Asia and Europe: 

1 Compare also Ram Mohan Ray s attitude. See below, p. 33 n. 

2 Richter, 183. 3 76., 131. 


All the papers are directed to one end, a description of those 
inherent differences between Europe and Asia which forbid 
one continent permanently to conquer the other. ... It is 
rather a saddening reflection that the thoughts of so many 
years are all summed up by a great poet in four lines : 

" The East bowed low before the blast, 

In patient deep disdain ; 
She let the legions thunder past, 
Then plunged in thought again." 1 

As yet there is no sign that the British are accomplishing 
more than the Romans accomplished in Britain, that they will 
spread any permanently successful ideas, or that they will found 
anything whatever. It is still true that if they departed or 
were driven out they would leave behind them, as the Romans 
did in Britain, splendid roads, many useless buildings, an in 
creased weakness in the subject people, and a memory which in 
a century of new events would be extinct. 2 

Dubois held similar opinions : 

I venture to predict that it (i.e. the British Government) 
will attempt in vain to effect any very considerable changes in 
the social condition of the people of India, whose character, 
principles, customs and ineradicable conservatism will always 
present insurmountable obstacles. 3 

It is necessary, for the understanding of the history of the 
nineteenth century, to realize how influential these ideas were 
for many years, though they begin to seem rather old-world 
and bloodless in the light of the Awakening, and especially 
of the religious upheaval we have to deal with. 

LITERATURE. The Rise and Expansion of the British Dominion in 
India, by Sir Alfred Lyall, London, Murray, 1894. Hindu Manners, 
Customs and Ceremonies, by J. A. Dubois, Oxford, Clarendon Press. 
A History of Missions in India, by Julius Richter, London, Oliphant. 
Asia and Europe, by Meredith Townsend. 

We shall divide the period of one hundred and thirteen 
years with which we deal into four sections. 

^.xxi. 2 P. 27. * p. 


FIRST SECTION : 1800-1828 

1. In this year 1800, from which we date the effective inter- 
penetration of India by the West, a large part of the country 
was already under British rule, and Lord Wellesley was busy 
bringing the independent native princes within the scope of the 
empire by means of peaceful treaties. His policy proved very 
successful, and extended the, empire far and wide. In the wars 
which arose his brother, later known as the Duke of Welling 
ton, played a great part. His policy may be said to have com 
pleted itself in 1849, when the last remaining portion of India 
proper was added to the empire. 

2. We have already seen that Carey, his apprenticeship over, 
had settled under the Danish flag at Serampore in 1800 and 
had at once become a Government professor in Calcutta. He 
gave a great deal of time to the translation of the Bible into 
the vernaculars of India and even into the languages of coun 
tries outside India ; but it was chiefly by the winning of actual 
converts from Hinduism, by his schools, newspapers and 
literature, that he was able to bring Christian thought effec 
tively to bear on the Indian spirit. But it would have been 
impossible for him to make his work varied and effective had 
it not been for his two great colleagues, Marshman and Ward. 
Carey had been a cobbler, Marshman a Ragged-School teacher 
and Ward a printer. They were all largely self-taught. They 
differed greatly from each other, but differed in such a way as 
to supplement one another. Their methods of work were 
partly those which had been developed by Danish missionaries 
in South India in the eighteenth century, partly new. The 
basis of all their work was preaching and translation of the 
Bible. To this they added the publication of literature of 
many types, and very effective journalism. They had a print 
ing press, and in it Indian type was first founded and used. 
They laid great stress on education, and opened numerous 


schools around them for both boys and girls. They opened 
boarding-schools and orphanages. They even attempted 
medical work, and did not neglect the lepers. They were most 
eager to send out native missionaries to preach throughout 
the country, and with that in view built a great college at 
Serampore, and received from the King of Denmark author 
ity to confer degrees. Their study of Hinduism and the 
Hindu community convinced them that, for the health of the 
people, many social and religious reforms were necessary, 
for example, the total abolition of caste, the prohibition of 
widow-burning, of child-marriage, of polygamy and of infan 
ticide, the granting to widows of the right to remarry, the 
prohibition of human sacrifice, of the torturing of animals in 
sacrifice, of human torture in worship, and of the gross ob 
scenity practised in the streets. They took great care that 
caste should be utterly excluded from the Church of Christ. 

In 1813, when it was necessary to renew the Charter of the 
East India Company, Parliament insisted, in spite of the oppo 
sition of the Directors of the Company, on inserting a clause 
in the Charter, giving missionaries full freedom to settle and 
work in India. There can be no question that this was largely 
a result of the wonderful work done at Serampore. Soon 
afterwards there was a great influx of missionaries into the 

During these years a number of individual Europeans did 
what they could to start Western education^in the great cities 
of India apart from missionary associations. David Hare, 
a Scotch watchmaker, was the pioneer of English studies 
among boys in Calcutta ; and a Civil Servant, Mr. Drinkwater 
Bethune, succeeded in starting a school for Hindu girls in the 
same city. The Hon ble Mr. Mountstuart Elphinstone 
led both the Hindu and the Parsee community in Bombay 
to modern education. His name is perpetuated in the 
Government College of that city. 


3. Three men stand out as pioneer Orientalists during these 
years, the great Colebrooke, to whom almost every aspect of 
Sanskrit and Hindu study runs back, H. H. Wilson, who pub 
lished a number of very useful works, and Tod, a military 
officer, who studied the poetry, traditions and customs of the 
Rajputs so thoroughly that his Rdjasthdn is to this day the 
greatest and most beautiful work upon that people and their 

4. But for our subject the most interesting name is that 
of Ram Mohan Ray, the founder of the Brahma Samaj. 
We shall deal with his work in our next chapter. Here we 
note simply that the years from 1800 to 1828 were the years 
that formed him, and that while he was influenced by 
Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism, the forces which proved 
creative in him were unquestionably Christianity and the 
influence of the West in general. During these years he 
published almost all his books and conducted a vigorous 
agitation in Calcutta against widow-burning, which proved 
of great practical value. 

No fresh religious movement worthy of notice appeared 
during these years. 

LITERATURE. Lyall, as above. Marshman s History of India. 
Wellesley and Hastings in Rulers of India Series, Oxford University 
Press. Life of William Carey, by George Smith, in Everyman s 
Library. Carey, Marshman and Ward, by George Smith. For the 
rise of Orientalism see Macdonell s Sanskrit Literature, chap. I. 

SECOND SECTION : 1828-1870 

i. The British Empire in India continued to expand during 
these years until it covered the whole of India. The last 
portion to be added, namely the Pan jab, was annexed in 1849, 
at the conclusion of the second Sikh war. 

The Mutiny of 1857-1858 extends across the middle of our 
period like a dark bar, but we need not, in this brief historical 


outline, attempt to deal with it. It was essentially a reaction, 
a natural and almost inevitable result of the rapid conquest 
of the country and of the numerous reforms imposed on a most 
conservative people. So far from checking the process of the 
building up of the empire, the Mutiny, in the long run, pro 
duced most beneficial results ; for the Crown became directly 
responsible for India ; and both policy and method were clari 
fied and simplified, to the immeasurable benefit of India. 

Apart from the completion of the empire, the whole activity 
of the Government throughout this section might be de 
scribed as one long programme of reform ; and this aspect of 
its work is of more importance for our subject than the exten 
sion of the frontiers and the wars that shook down the old 
rulers. We take the beginning of the Governor- Generalship 
of Lord William Bentinck as the date of the opening of this 
section of our period, because he initiated the policy of reform, 
and began to apply in serious earnest the conviction, which 
had taken hold of the best minds at home, that Britain must 
govern India for the good of India. The reforms which he 
introduced may be best understood if we take them in three 

The first group consists of a list of cruel practices which 
had long been customary in India, and were closely con 
nected with the religious life of the people. The principle 
on which the government decided to interfere with these re 
ligious customs is this, that to interfere with religion as such is 
beyond the province of rulers, but to prohibit customs which 
are grossly immoral and revolting to humanity is a most serious 
duty, even though these customs, through superstition and 
long tradition, have come to be regarded as most sacred. 
The chief of these customs prohibited were soft, the burning of 
a widow along with her husband s body, thagl, 1 the strangling 
and robbery of travellers, female infanticide and human sacrifice. 

1 See below, p. 425 n. 


The second group of reforms comes under the head of the 
recognition of human equality. It was decided that no 
native of India should suffer in any way because of his reli 
gious opinions, but that all should be absolutely equal before 
the law. The same idea found practical expression in the 
largely extended employment of Indians in Government ser 
vice ; but the reason the Directors had for asking Lord Wil 
liam to initiate the reform was the necessity of economy. 

The third set of reforms gathers round the English language. 
For years there had been a serious controversy among gov 
ernment officials as to whether Government should support 
Oriental or Western education. The great success of Duff s 
work in Calcutta, which we shall notice below, and the power 
ful advocacy of Macaulay, who was Legal Member of 
Council under Lord Bentinck, enabled the Governor-General 
to decide in favour of modern education. The English lan 
guage became the official tongue of the empire, and the 
vehicle of instruction in all higher education. No more 
momentous decision was ever taken at the Indian Coun 
cil Board. The working out of a new policy in education was 
necessarily left to Lord Bentinck s successors. Government 
schools and colleges grew and multiplied ; medical education 
was introduced; vernacular education was not neglected; 
and, in the midst of the throes of the Mutiny, the new system 
was crowned by the establishment of universities at Calcutta, 
Bombay and Madras. 

The results produced by English education in India are 
revolutionary in the highest degree. The following pages will 
give much evidence of the extraordinary changes in progress ; 
but, so far as one can see, we have not nearly reached the end 
of the evolution ; and no man can foretell what the ultimate 
result will be. 

Other reforms of considerable magnitude followed. In 
1843 an act was passed to render slavery in India illegal ; 


and, in consequence, during the following years vast 
numbers of people who had been born and brought up in 
slavery gradually acquired liberty. Lord Dalhousie (1848- 
1856) introduced many reforms into the administration. 
His acts led to great improvements in the life and pros 
perity of the people throughout the vast empire. Amongst 
these was a law prohibiting certain gross obscenities which 
hitherto had been common in the streets of Indian cities. 
A clause had to be inserted excluding the temples, images 
and cars of Hindu gods from the operation of the law. 

But the most far-reaching and precious reform of this sec 
tion of history was the assumption of the government of India 
by the Crown. Every part of the service was quickened, puri 
fied and invigorated under the new system. 

2. In Missions these decades are marked chiefly by great 
activity in education, especially in English education, and by 
a brilliant development of missionary method in many direc 
tions. The number of missionaries engaged in the Empire 
increased very greatly during those years ; and the area 
covered by missions expanded with the Empire. 

In 1830 a young Scotch missionary named Alexander Duff 
arrived in Calcutta. He decided to open a school for the 
teaching of English, believing that nothing would do so much 
for the opening of the Hindu mind as intercourse with the 
spirit of the West through the medium of the English language. 
Ram Mohan Ray obtained rooms for him in which to start his 
school and brought him some of his earliest pupils. His work 
rested on two convictions. The first of these was this, that 
the highest form of education is Christian education, namely, 
a thoroughly sound intellectual and scientific training, built 
on the moral and religious principles of Christ. To him the 
teaching of the Bible was the most essential element in the edu 
cation he gave. Apart from that, mere intellectual drill might 
do more harm than good. His second conviction was that a 


modern education could be given to the Indian only through 
the medium of English, because their own vernaculars did not 
contain the books necessary for a modern education. His 
work opened a new missionary era in India. His school be 
came extraordinarily popular ; all the most promising young 
men of the city flocked to him ; and the results of his teach 
ing were very remarkable. Western thought caused a great 
ferment in their minds, breaking down the old ideas with 
great rapidity ; and the daily Scripture lesson filled them with 
Christian thought. Soon a stream of fine young fellows 
began to pass out of Hinduism into the Christian Church, 
and Duff s work and Christianity became the most absorbing 
topic of conversation throughout the Hindu community. 
Dr. John Wilson started similar work in Bombay and John 
Anderson in Madras. These were followed by other mission 
aries in other centres. 

During these decades the Christian education of girls was 
pushed rapidly forward, and its methods well worked out. It 
was the desire to spread girls schools far and wide that led to 
the rapid increase of women missionaries and finally to a great 
influx of unmarried lady missionaries. Further contact 
with the people showed the piteous needs of the women of 
the upper classes shut up in zenanas ; and consequently from 
about 1854 there was developed a new method of missionary 
service, the visitation of zenanas by women missionaries and 
their assistants. It was during this section of our period 
also that medical missions took shape. During all the pre 
vious years a little medical help had been given at various 
points; but now the Christian conscience of Europe and 
America was stirred to bring medical help to the millions 
of the common people of India, for whom no skilled assistance 
in the time of trouble and death was available. Gradually 
the idea took shape, and produced the Medical Mission, i.e. 
a Christian medical man, sent out to heal and to preach, well 


equipped with knowledge, with medicine and with surgical 
implements, and backed also with a dispensary, hospital and 
assistants. Here again the sufferings of the women of India 
led to something new. Men could not enter the zenanas, and 
yet in them much of the tragedy of Hindu pain and death 
took place. Such was the origin of the woman medical mis 
sionary, one of the most precious forms of help ever sent to 
India. Orphanages, widows homes and famine relief were 
all used to some extent during these years, but their full de 
velopment comes later. 

3. The years 1828-1870 saw the flowering of Oriental 
scholarship. Hodgson discovered the literature of Northern 
Buddhism during his residence in Nepal from 1833-1844. 
Roth published his epoch-making treatise on The Literature 
and the History of the Veda in 1846, and, in collaboration with 
Bohtlingk, began the issue of the great Petersburg Lexicon 
in 1852. Max Miiller s Text of the Rigveda was issued between 
1849 and 1875. Meantime Prinsep and Cunningham laid 
the foundations of our knowledge of Indian art, epigraphy and y 
archaeology. Even at this date the work of Oriental scholars (j 
did not influence the Indian mind seriously. 

4.. The new educational policy of the Government created 
during these years Ijae modern educated class of India. These 
are men who think and speak in English habitually, who are 
proud of their citizenship in the British Empire, who are de 
voted to English literature, and whose intellectual life has 
been almost entirely formed by the thought of the West. 
Large numbers of them enter government service, while the 
rest practise law, medicine or teaching, or take to journalism 
or business. We must also note that the powerful excitement 
which has sufficed to create the religious movements we have 
to deal with is almost entirely confined to those who have 
had an English education. 

It was in Bengal and Bombay that the results of the new 


policy became first conspicuous. The Bengalis in the East 
and the Parsees and Marathas in the West took very eagerly 
to English education. Madras followed, and took quite as 
much advantage of the new situation. The Muhammadans 
on the whole held back, but one prominent man, Sir Syed 
Ahmad Khan, was far-sighted enough to see the folly of 
this attitude and did all he could to bring his people into 

5. We have already noticed Ram Mohan Ray s activity as 
a writer and social reformer. His greatest achievement coin 
cides with the opening year of this section of our period. In 
1828 he founded the Brahma Samaj, a theistic society, opposed 
to polytheism, mythology and idolatry, the first and most 
influential of all the religious movements we have to deal with. 
But, eighteen months after it was founded, he sailed for Eng 
land and never returned. The new society would have died, 
had it not been for the financial support of one of his friends, 
Prince Dwarka Nath Tagore. In 1842 Debendra Nath Ta- 
gore, the youthful son of Rama Mohan Ray s friend, entered 
the Samaj, and soon became recognized as its leader. A new 
period of growth and fruitful labour followed. For nearly 
twenty years longer the Brahma Samaj continued to be the 
most prominent indigenous religious movement. Just after 
the Mutiny a young Bengali, named Keshab Chandra Sen, 
became a member, and soon displayed remarkable powers. 
He led the little community into social reform, philanthropy 
and also, in some degree, into discipleship to Christ. 

From the Brahma Samaj there sprang in 1867 a kindred 
organization in Bombay, known as the Prarthana Samaj. Its 
most prominent leaders belong to a later day. The Parsees 
of Bombay were busy at the same time with educational and 
social reform, but no organization sprang up among them. 

We ought also to notice that in 1856, largely as a result of 
the agitation of a Calcutta Brahman, Pandit Isvara Chandra 


Vidyasagara, the Government passed a law legalizing the re 
marriage of Hindu widows. 

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, whose influence on the Muhamma- 
dan community we have already noted, was an eager social 
and religious reformer, but his most notable achievement was 
the foundation of the Muhammadan College at Aligarh, 
which has done a great deal to rouse the Muhammadans of 
North India to accept modern thought and to take their 
rightful place in government and education in these modern 

LITERATURE. Lyall, as above. India under Victoria, by L. J. 
Trotter, London, Allen, 1886, 2 vols. Bentinck, Dalhousie and 
Canning in Rulers of India Series. Trevelyan s Life of Macaulay. 
The Administration of the East India Company, by J. W. Kaye, 
London, Bentley, 1853 (describes the great reforms). The Suppres 
sion of Human Sacrifice, Suttee and Female Infanticide, Madras, 
C. L. S. I., 1898, two and a half annas (abridged from Kaye). 
Richter s History of Missions in India; and George Smith s Lives of 
Duff and Wilson. 

THIRD SECTION: 1870-1895 

i. Continuous progress in the adaptation of British admin 
istration to the needs of India may be said to sum up the policy 
and the work of the government during those thirty years. 
A few points ought to be definitely mentioned. Perhaps the 
greatest social advance made by Government has been the 
elaboration of the Famine Code, whereby provision is made 
from year to year for the possible arrival of serious famine. 
Elaborate instructions, the reasoned outcome of very wide 
and very varied experience, are also laid down for the guid 
ance of officers who have to deal with famine conditions. A 
Local Self-government Bill was passed by Lord Ripon s 
Government with the definite purpose of educating the 
people in self-government. Good has certainly resulted 


from it but not quite so much as was looked for. The only 
other act which we need notice is the Age of Consent Act, 
passed in 1891, which prohibits a husband from living with 
his wife before she reaches the age of twelve. 

2. From the very birth of missionary work in India there 
had been devoted men who had given their lives to toil amongst 
the Outcastes, but for a long time comparatively little fruit 
appeared. From 1876 to 1879 the South of India suffered 
from an appalling famine. Everywhere missionaries threw 
themselves into the work of saving life and alleviating dis 
tress ; and this piece of disinterested service brought its re 
ward. From 1880 onwards great masses of the Qutcastes^ of 
South India passed into the Church of Christ. The movement 
has since spread to the North. It has proved the most 
signal of all the object-lessons given to India by Christians. 

Women s work for women, and medical work, both of which 
took shape, as we have seen, before 1870, have become greatly 
expanded and still further improved in method since then. 
These years have also seen the organization of systematic 
Christian work for lepers. Numerous hospitals have been 
built for them ; and in many places badly managed shelters 
have been brought under Christian care, and are now doing 
wonderful work. A large proportion of the lepers cared for 
by Christians become Christians. 

The rapid spread of English education has produced a very 
large student class,, studying in three different types of institu 
tions, government, missionary and native schools and colleges. 
The attention of Christians has been drawn to the moral and 
religious needs of this interesting group of young men in a num 
ber of ways, and also to the still larger group who are beyond 
the student stage. Methods of work have been steadily im 
proved in Christian institutions. Hostels for non-Christians 
have been built in considerable numbers, and, under devoted 
Christian management, have produced such excellent results 


that there is a loud cry for the extension of the hostel system 
throughout the country. The student s magazine, whether 
connected with a single college or meant for the students of 
a province, is also a creation of these years. The Young 
Men s Christian Association, which had been working among 
Europeans for several decades, began to reach out to Indians, 
both Christian and non-Christian, in the year ^9, and has 
proved singularly popular and efficient. The young Indian 
Christian likes the Association because of its democratic 
government and the variety of its activities. To the young 
Hindu the Association has proved a very great boon in many a 
town. It is to him at once a happy social club and a centre 
of religious instruction. Its organization and methods have 
been copied by every religious group throughout India. 

3 . If Oriental study flowered before 1 870, we may say that its 
fruit was plucked during the next thirty years. Great masses 
of the knowledge acquired by the leading scholars in previous 
decades were made available for the ordinary man during 
these years. We need only refer to these magnificent series 
of volumes, The Sacred Books of the East, Triibner s Oriental 
Series, The Harvard Oriental Series and M. N. Butt s long 
list of translations. Several of the books published during 
these years have climbed to fame, notably Edwin Arnold s 
Light of Asia and The Song Celestial. Childers, a young civil 
servant in Ceylon, published in 1875 a Dictionary of Pali, 
and thus laid the basis of the scientific study of the literature 
of early Buddhism. Since 1870 Oriental study has reacted; 
very powerfully on the Indian mind in various ways. 
Indian scholars, trained in European methods, have done 
brilliant service both in the editing of texts and in transla 

4. The reason why we date this section of our period from 
1870 is that from about that date a great change manifests 
itself in the spirit of the educated classes of India. Hitherto 


they have been docile pupils : now they begin to show the 
vigour and independence of youth. There is a wonderful 
outburst of freshness, energy and initiative. Many forms of 
new effort and organization appear. The most pronounced 
line of thought is a growing desire to defend Hinduism, and 
an increasing confidence in its defensibility. The movement 
is now shared by Muslims, Buddhists, Jains and Parsees, 
but it appeared first among Hindus. Rather later, new 
political aspirations began to be expressed; the Indian 
National Congress came into being; and the native press 
climbed to great influence. About the same time the Social 
Reform Movement was organized. The first college organ 
ized by Hindus was opened in Calcutta in 1879. 

5. Religiously, the new feeling created what was practically 
a Counter-Reformation. A large number of religious move 
ments sprang into being, all of them quite as distinctly opposed 
to the Brahma Samaj and the Prarthana Samaj as to Chris 
tianity. We divide these movements into two groups, those 
which insist on a good deal of reform, and those which lay all 
their emphasis on defence of the old faiths. 

Of the group which seeks reform the most noteworthy 
movements have their home in the Panjab. There is first 
the Arya Samaj, the founder of which was an ascetic named 
Dayananda Sarasvati. A Muhammadan, named Mirza 
Ghulam Ahmad, resident in a village in the Panjab, 
founded a body which holds much the same place in Indian 
Muhammadanism that the Arya Samaj does in Hinduism. 
He proclaimed himself the Muslim Mahdi, the Christian 
Messiah and a Hindu incarnation. There is, lastly, the 
Deva Samaj, an atheistic body with its centre in Lahore, 
the leader of which receives divine honours. 

The other group contains a large number of movements, of 
which we shall mention only a few at this point. The first is 
the teaching of an interesting ascetic who lived and taught in a 


temple a few miles north of Calcutta. He is known as Rama- 
krishna Paramaharhsa. Svaml Vivekananda, who represented 
Hinduism at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago, was a 
pupil of his. The next movement is Theosophy, which was 
founded by a Russian lady, named Madame Blavatsky, in 
New York in 1875. The headquarters were moved to India 
in 1879, and have remained there since. Madame Blavatsky 
declared that the system was taught her by certain beings of 
superhuman knowledge and power who, she said, resided in 
Tibet. It is rather remarkable that another Russian, a man 
named Notovitch, created, in similar fashion, a myth about 
Jesus in connection with Tibet 1 ; and an American has started 
in Chicago an eclectic form of Zoroastrianism which he de 
clares he was taught by the Dalai Lama himself. 2 . 

All the leading Hindu sects, both Vishnuite and Sivaite, 
have formed defence associations; and Jains, Buddhists, 
Parsees and Muhammadans have followed their example. 
We need not deal with these in detail here. 

These two groups of movements, taken together, form a very 
striking revival of the ancient religions, parallel to the revival 
which the faiths of the Roman Empire experienced in the early 
centuries of the Christian era. 

LITERATURE. Trotter s India under Victoria. R. C. Dutt s 
Victorian Age in India. The Lives of Ripon, Dufferin and Lans- 
downe. Richter s History of Missions in India. Phillip s Outcastes 
Hope, London, Y. P. M. M., 1912. India, Fifty Years of Progress 
and Reform, by R. P. Karkaria, Oxford Press, 1896. 

FOURTH SECTION: 1895-1913 

This brief space of eighteen years is but a fragment of a 
period ; but it has proved so different in character from the 
foregoing time that it would be misleading not to set it by it- 

1 P. 140, below. 2 P. 346, below. 

self. What gives it its peculiar colour is the new national 

M"MM. H*I* I *>* 

spirit, which will be discussed in our fifth chapter. 

For our purposes the most significant events of the decade, 
1895-1905, are the serious preparations for revolutionary 
action which were made during these years, especially in the 
Maratha country, but also to some extent in the Panjab and 
Bengal. Meantime, the national movement was steadily 
gaining in strength, and men were becoming furiously 
urgent to reap results. The educated Indian was becoming 
a full-grown man. Towards the close of the decade there 
I; came the Russo-Japanese war, the result of which was to 
enhance the self-respect and the sense of independence and 
strength of every thinking Asiatic. It happened, then, that, 
while these three series of events were moving to their 
climax, we had in India as the representative of Britain 
Lord Curzon, a man of high aims, of will and knowledge, of 
industry and eloquence, but also a man whose temperament 
and action were as a mustard-blister to educated India. 

Those who had been preparing for ten years got their oppor 
tunity in the Partition of Bengal in October, 1905 ; and thus 
the whole length of Lord Minto s viceroyalty (1905-1910) was 
filled with the horror of anarchism. But he also has the hon 
our of having proposed the new Councils, which have served 
to give Indians a new place in the Government of India. The 
King s visit in 1911-1912, and the restoration of the unity 
of central Bengal greatly helped the healing process. 

Since the time when the majority of the educated class 
came to recognize that anarchism was the worst enemy the 
people of India have, the new national feeling, touched as 
it is with religious feeling, has led men into new forms of 
activity and service, which promise to bear rich fruit. 

LITERATURE. Lord Curzon and After, by Lovat Fraser, London, 
Heinemann, i6s. Indian Unrest, by Sir Valentine Chirol, London, 
Macmillan, 1910, 55. net. Indian Nationalism, by Edwin Bevan. 




WE have already seen that the earliest religious movements 
of our period were very radical in character, seeking both 
religious and social reform with great earnestness, and that 
organizations which sprang from them at a later date were 
usually filled with the same spirit. All these movements 
oppose both idolatry and caste ; and none of the leaders have 
been ascetics. 


i. Of all the religious movements of the nineteenth century 
the Brahma Samaj has, without doubt, proved the most in 
fluential. Brahma is an adjective formed from Brahman, the 
God of the Upanishads and the Vedanta philosophy, and 
samaja is a noun meaning society. Throughout its history it 
has been sternly theistic and opposed to idolatry, and has al 
ways had a policy of reform. Looked at from one side, it is 
one of a long series of attempts to found a spiritual religion 
on a genuine Hindu foundation, which have marked the reli 
gion of India from a very early date ; while, from the other 
side, it is a new creation, rinding the sources of its vitality in 
Christian faith and practice. 

Ram Mohan Ray (Ramamohana Rai) (1221-1833), the 
founder of the Samaj, is the pioneer of all living advance, 
religious, social and educational, in the Hindu community 
during the nineteenth century. He was born in a Kulin 



Brahman family, which had long been connected with the 
Muhammadan government of Bengal. The family were 
followers of Chaitanya, 1 the Bengali Vishnuite leader, but his 
mother came of a Sakta 2 family. Both his parents were 
deeply religious. He was married when quite a boy ; but his 
girl-wife soon died, and his father married him to two other 
little girls ; so that until i824 3 he was a polygamist 

When he was about twelve years old, he was sent to study at 
Patna, at that time a famous seat of Muhammadan learning, 
which was then the passport into Government service. The 
effect of the education he received there is thus described by 
the historian of the Brahma Samaj : 

He is said to have been specially enchanted with the writings 
of the Sufi school of Mahomedan philosophers, whose views 
tallied to a large extent with those of the Vedantic school of 
the Hindus and who accordingly were regarded as little better 
than heretics by the narrow and orthodox school of Mahome- 
dans. Throughout his subsequent life, Ram Mohun Roy never 
entirely shook off these early Mahomedan influences. In 
private life, through a long course of years, his habits and tastes 
were those of a Mahomedan, and in private conversation he 
always delighted to quote freely from his favourite Sufi authors. 4 

It is probable that he also made the acquaintance of the 
rationalistic school of Muslim thought, the Mu tazilites, 5 
as B. C. Pal suggests. 

On his return, about the age of fifteen, he discovered that 
the differences between himself and his father on the subject 
of idolatry were very serious, and he decided to leave home. 
For some years he lived a wandering life. There is a story 
that he visited Tibet to study Buddhism and held discussions 
with the Lamas, but the truth of it is uncertain. But finally 
his father recalled him. He then settled in Benares, and 

1 P. 293, below. 8 Miss Collet, 115. 6 P. 96, below. 

2 P. 303, below. 4 HBS., I, 16-17. 


studied Sanskrit and certain of the Hindu books. In 1796 
he began the study of English. 

In 1803 his father died, and Ram Mohan removed to Mur- / 
shidabad, where he published, in 1804, a pamphlet in Persian, 
Tuhfatul Muwahhiddin, A Gift to Deists. Here the rational 
istic and somewhat hard character of the deistic thought 
which he had imbibed from his study of the Muhammadan 
doctors makes itself manifest. 

Shortly after, he entered the service of the East India Com 
pany under Mr. John Digby. This gentleman, noting Ram 
Mohan s studious disposition, became his friend, and helped 
him to acquire a better knowledge of English and English 
literature. He still continued his religious inquiries and his 
discussions with those round about him. He served the 
Government as a revenue officer for nine or ten years, and 
amassed a fortune. During his stay at his last station, Rung- 
pur, he spent a good deal of time in religious discussion with 
the Hindus and Jains of the town. 

From this time onward his mother opposed and persecuted 
him, and for some considerable time his wives refused to live 
with him on account of his heterodoxy. 1 

Originally, Ram Mohan had only hatred for the English; 
but his practical experience of the Government, his inter 
course with Digby and further study of English literature 
led to a change of feeling and conviction. 2 

On retiring from the service in 1814, he settled in Calcutta, 
with the definite purpose of devoting his whole time and 
strength to the propagation of his religious convictions. He 
established in 1815 a society called the Atmlya Sabha or 
Friendly Association. Meetings were held weekly, at which 
texts from the Hindu scriptures were recited and hymns were \ 
sung: but the society ceased to meet in 1819. He studied 
very seriously, giving his chief attention to the Upanishads 

1 Miss Collet, 33-4, 115. * Miiller, Biographical Essays, lyn., 47. 


and the Veddnta-sutras of Badarayana. Between 1816 and 
L&IQ he published, in both Bengali and English, an abstract 
of the Veddnta-sutras, translations of four of the verse Upani- 
shads, and two pamphlets in defence of Hindu theism. His 
position was that the Upanishads taught pure theism, uncon- 
taminated by idolatry ; and he summoned his fellow-country 
men to return to the pure religion of their forefathers. His 
vigorous action brought him not only controversy but serious 
persecution. The publication of these works created extraor 
dinary excitement in Bengal and even beyond. 

Shortly after settling in Calcutta, he made the acquaintance 
of the Serampore Missionaries. He also set himself to study 
Christianity seriously, learning both Hebrew and Greek in 
order to get at the sources. The result of his reading was 
thus expressed by himself : 

The consequence of my long and uninterrupted researches 
into religious truth has been that I have found the doctrines 
of Christ more conducive to moral principles, and better adapted 
for the use of rational beings, than any other which have come 
to my knowledge. 

In order to give practical effect to this conviction he published, 
in 1820, a very remarkable volume, The Principles of Jesus, 
the Guide to Peace and Happiness, being a series of extracts 
from the Gospels, covering the bulk of Christ s teaching given 
by Matthew and Luke, with a few pages from Mark and still 
fewer from John. In the preface to this volume he says : 

This simple code of religion and morality is so admirably 
calculated to elevate men s ideas to high and liberal notions 
of one God, . . . and is also so well fitted to regulate the con 
duct of the human race in the discharge of their various duties 
to God, to themselves and to society, that I cannot but hope 
the best effects from its promulgation in the present form. 

His position is that Christ was a theist like himself, that His 
disciples misunderstood Him, and that the whole edifice of 


Christology is a huge mistake. Despite this attitude, we can 
now see what a striking and prophetic advance in the growth 
of the Hindu spirit the book indicates, and can rejoice that 
Ram Mohan was able to come so far ; but, necessarily, his 
friends at Serampore felt that the Gospels were mangled and 
used in an utterly unfair and unhistorical way, in order to bar 
the progress of Christianity in India. Hence Ram Mohan 
was now involved in serious controversy on the Christian side. 

But he was almost as keenly interested in education and in 
the reform of the Hindu family as in the establishment of his 
religious views. In the matter of English education his help 
proved of great value. He was one of those who formed the 
scheme of the Hindu College, which was opened in Calcutta 
in 1819 ; and, when Duff arrived in the city in 1830, Ram 
Mohan not only secured a suitable house for his English school, 
but also brought him a number of pupils. He realized that 
caste was indefensible and required to be opposed ; but, for 
various reasons, he carefully guarded his own caste, retained 
his sacred thread, and wrote in defence of the observance of 
caste ; so that he did no service to the crusade. 

With regard to the family he felt strongly. The influence 
of the Serampore men moved him decisively here. It was 
chiefly the wrongs of women that stirred him. He denounced 
widow-burning and polygainj, and pleaded for a return to 
earlier practice in the matter of the rights of women according 
to the Hindu law of inheritance. 

His efforts proved fruitful in several directions. The 
agitation against the burning of widows, in which he hacT 
taken a great part, 1 found its conclusion in Lord Bentinck s 
famous order of the 4th of December, 1829, forbidding the 
cruel practice. 

1 Strangely enough, Ram Mohan, though eager to see the practice cease, 
was opposed to Lord Bentinck s proposal, and endeavoured to persuade 
him not to carry it out. See Miss Collet, 146. 


But it was in religion that his work was most effective. 
Through his friendship with the Serampore Missionaries he 
was led to help them in their great task of translating the 
New Testament into Bengali. In the course of the work 
serious discussions arose, and collaboration ceased ; but one 
of the Missionaries, the Rev. W. Adam, sided with Ram 
Mohan, and became a Unitarian in May, 1821. This led to 
the formation in September, 1821, of a Unitarian Mission in 
Calcutta under a Committee of Europeans and Indians. A 
house was rented, and Unitarian services were conducted in 
English. A printing-press and education were also used as 
auxiliaries ; and a Vedant College, meant to turn out Hindu 
Unitarians, was opened. But Ram Mohan and Adam did 
not pull well together, and little success was attained. The 
mission was given up. 

2. First Period of the Samdj, 1828-1842 : Deistic Theology 
and Christian Ethics. Since the weekly service in English had 
failed, some friends suggested a more distinctly Indian service 
in the vernacular. Feringhi Kamal Bose s house in Upper 
Chitpore Road was rented, and the first meeting was held on 
the 20th of August, 1828. The name chosen at first was 
Brahma Sabhd, Brahman Association, but it was soon altered 
to Brahma Samdj. His chief supporters were three wealthy 
men, of whom the most notable was Prince Dwarka Nath 
Tagore (Dvdrikdndtha Thakkura), and a group of learned 
Brahmans. The society met every Saturday evening from 
seven to nine. The service was in four parts, the chanting 
of selections from the Upanishads in Sanskrit (this was done 
in a small room curtained off by itself into which only Brah 
mans were admitted), the translation of these passages into 
Bengali, a sermon in Bengali, and the singing of theistic 
hymns in Sanskrit and Bengali composed by Ram Mohan and 
his friends. There was no organization, no membership, no 
creed. It was merely a weekly meeting open to any who cared 


to attend. Ram Mohan believed he was restoring Hindu 
worship to its pristine purity. 

Soon afterwards a building was erected in Chitpore Road 
for the Samaj ; and it was opened on the 23rd of January, 
1830. The Trust Deed is rather a remarkable document. 
The following are a few sentences from it : 

To be used ... as a place of public meeting of all sorts 
and descriptions of people without distinction as shall behave 
and conduct themselves in an orderly sober religious and 
devout manner for the worship and adoration of the Eternal 
Unsearchable and Immutable Being who is the Author and 
Preserver of the Universe but not under or by any other name 
designation or title peculiarly used for and applied to any 
particular Being or Beings by any man or set of men whatso 
ever and that no graven image statue or sculpture carving 
painting picture portrait or the likeness of anything shall be 
admitted within the said building . . . and that no sacrifice 
. . . shall ever be permitted therein and that no animal or 
living creature shall within or on the said premises be deprived 
of life . . . and that in conducting the said worship and adora 
tion no object animate or inanimate that has been or is ... 
recognized as an object of worship by any man or set of men 
shall be reviled or slightingly or contemptuously spoken of 
. . . and that no sermon preaching discourse prayer or hymn 
be delivered made or used in such worship but such as have a 
tendency to the promotion of the contemplation of the Author 
and Preserver of the Universe to the promotion of charity 
morality piety benevolence virtue and the strengthening the 
bonds of union between men of all religious persuasions and 

3 . In November, 1 830, Ram Mohan sailed for England. He 
had long wished to take the journey. He was fully conscious 
of the momentous changes destined to arise in India from the 
introduction of British government. Western civilization and 
Christianity ; and naturally wished to study lif e and religion 
in England. He also hoped to be of some service to his coun- 


try politically, since the Charter of the East India Company 
fell to be renewed in 1833. The representative of the Mughal 
dynasty, now a pensioner of the Company, entrusted him with 
a personal petition, and conferred on him the title of Raja. 
He took two servants with him, in order that he might keep 
caste on the sea and in England. 

He was received with the utmost cordiality and respect 
in England, and exercised a greater influence than he can have 
ever hoped to do, but he died in Bristol in 1833. In Bristol 
Museum there hangs a portrait by Biggs, which is repro 
duced as the frontispiece to this volume. 

4. He was a man of large intellect, of wide sympathies and 
of both courage and force. He was the first Indian who 
realized the great good which the country would reap from its 
connection with Britain and from the leaven of Christianity. 
But J he realized to the full that no real blessing could come 
to India by the mere adoption of Western things unchanged. 
India, he said, would inevitably remain Indian. No gift from 
the outside could be of any real value except in so far as it 
was naturalized. His long bold struggle, on the one hand, for 
religious and social purity, for educational progress and jour 
nalistic freedom, and his brilliant literary work and unchang 
ing fidelity to Indian ideals, on the other, had made him not 
only the most prominent of all Indians, but the one man able 
to stand between Indians and Englishmen as interpreter and 

But he was neither a philosopher nor a theologian. He 
thought out no system. Faced with the superstitions and the 
immoralities of popular Hinduism, on the one hand, and seeing 
distinctly, on the other, the truth contained in Islam and 
Christianity as well as in his own Hindu Upanishads, he found 
a plain man s solution of the complicated problem. He 

1 The following sentences to the end of the paragraph are from the 
author s article on the Brahma Samaj in ERE. 


seized on the theistic elements common to the three faiths, 
and declared them to be at once the original truths of Hin 
duism (corrupted by the populace in the course of the cen 
turies) and the universal religion on which all men could unite. 
We must not be astonished at the crudeness of his work. The 
Vedas from which alone a true knowledge of the rise of Hindu 
ism can be obtained were inaccessible to him, only the Upani- 
shads being available; and the science of religion had not 
yet gathered its stores of comparative knowledge to illuminate 
the whole problem of the religions and their relation to each 

He believed he was restoring the Hindu faith to its original 
purity, while, as a matter of fact, what he offered was a deistic 
theology and worship. Deism was very popular among Euro- n 
pean rationalists in the eighteenth century, and it harmonized j! 
well both with what he found in the Upanishads and with what 
he had learned from Muhammadan rationalists. The Upani 
shads teach that Brahman is actionless ; that he has no pur 
pose or aim which could lead him to action ; that all his ac 
tivity is sport ; that he is beyond the range of thought and 
speech ; and therefore cannot be reached by man s medita 
tions and prayers. That Ram Mohan s conception of God was 
seriously deistic we may realize clearly from the lack of 
prayer in the worship of the Samaj in his day, and also from 
the definitions of worship given in his writings. Here is a 
passage from his Religious Instructions founded on Sacred 

Question What is meant by worship ? 

Answer Worship implies the act of one with a view to 
please another; but when applied to the Supreme Being, it 
signifies a contemplation of his attributes. 

Question In what manner is this worship to be performed ? 

Answer By bearing in mind that the Author and Governor 
of this visible universe is the Supreme Being, and comparing 


this idea with the sacred writings and with reason. In this 
worship it is indispensably necessary to use exertions to subdue 
the senses, and to read such passages as direct attention to the 
Supreme Spirit. . . . The benefits which we continually re 
ceive from fire, from air, and from the sun, likewise from the 
various productions of the earth, such as the different kinds of 
grain, drugs, fruit and vegetables, all are dependent on him: 
and by considering and reasoning on the terms expressive of 
such ideas, the meaning itself is firmly fixed in the mind. 1 

Contrast with these statements the following lines from a 
little manual used at present by the Sadharan Brahma Samaj : 

Worship is the communion of the soul with God; on the 
part of man, it is the opening of his soul, the outpouring of his 
aspirations, the acknowledgement of his failures and trans 
gressions and the consecration of his life and work to God as 
his Lord, Refuge and Guide ; and on the part of God, the com 
munication of His light, strength, inspiration and blessing unto 
the longing soul. 2 

This is a living theism : the above is a dry deism. 

But there is another element in Ram Mohan s teaching 
which, in the subsequent history, has proved of infinite impor 
tance, namely this, that he did not believe in transmigration. 
Here he broke absolutely with Hinduism. Transmigration 
and karma are the very essence of the religion. The one aim 
of the philosophy of the Upanishads is the attainment of 
release from transmigration. )\It is thus only the simple truth 
to say that Ram Mohan was no longer a Hindu, that the 
orthodox were quite right in their suspicions, although they 
failed to lay stress on the crucial point. That this is a just 
judgment is made plain by the fact that the historical evolu 
tion of his principles has ended in separating the Brahmas 
from Hindu society. The Brahma to-day is as distinctly 
outside Hinduism as the Christian is. 

1 English Works, 135, 137. 2 The religion of the Brahmo Samaj, 40. 


From life-size portrait by Baron rle Srhwcter. 


X W( 


Te must also note that the form of the service arranged 
by Ram Mohan is Christian. Congregational worship is 
unknown in the ancient Hinduism which he believed he was 
restoring V Further, the ethics which Ram Mohan recom 
mended were drawn from the teaching of Christ. 

The death of the Founder was almost fatal to the infant 
society; but the munificence of his friend Prince Dwarka 
Nath Tagore enabled it to exist until a better day dawned. 

5. Second Period, 1842-1865: 

Theism and Religious Reform. In 1838 Debendra Nath Ta 
gore, the youthful son of the prince who had been Ram 
Mohan s great friend, passed through a very decided spiritual 
change, which made him a consecrated man for the rest of his 
life. The following year he formed, along with a few friends, 
the Tattvabodhini Sabha, or Truth- teaching Association, which 
met wppiHy^fnrj-pligrini^g ^fcfluagi\i and once a month for 

^_ Then in 1842, nine years after Ram Mohan s death, he and 

his young friends joined the Brahma Samaj ; and, for some 

years, the two societies worked side by side for common 

objects. Debendra was soon recognized as leader, and, being 

a Brahman, became the Achdrya or minister of the Samaj. 

A monthly, called the Tattvabodhini Patrikd, or Truth-teach 

ing Journal, began to appear; and a~^Vedic school, the 

Tattvabodhini Pdthsala, was established, partly to train Brahma 

missionaries, partly with a view to check Christianity, now 

making considerable progress in Calcutta under Duff s 1 

leadership. Debendra followed Ram Mohan in his belief that 

S original Hinduism was a pure spiritual theism, and in his 

"S enthusiasm for the Upanishads, but did not share his deep 

/ reverence for Christ. He believed India had no need of 

Christianity ; and he was never known to quote the Bible. 

6. He saw that the Samaj needed organization. Hitherto 

1 P. 19, above. 


it had been merely a weekly meeting. It had exercised little 
influence on the private life of those who attended ; and they 
were bound by no lasting tie to the Society. He therefore 
drew up, in 1843, what is known as the Brahma Covenant, 
a list of solemn vows to be taken by every one on becoming a 
member of the Society. The chief promises made are to ab- 
S stain from idolatry, and to worship God by loving Him and by 
doing such deeds as He loves. The members of the Tattva- 
bodhinl Sabha were the first to take the vows. This fresh 
organization greatly strengthened the Samaj. 

At the same time a brief form of prayer and adoration, 
drawn up by Debendra and called Brahmopdsana, 1 worship 
of Brahman, was introduced. This addition of prayer and 
devotional exercises to the service of the Samaj was a notable 
enrichment. It was a living fruit of Debendra s own religious 
experience. He was as far as possible from being a deist. He 
lived a life of constant prayer and worship of God ; and the 
direct communion of the human soul with the supreme Spirit 
was the most salient point in his teaching. 

These changes and the vigorous preaching of Debendra and 
several young missionaries in Calcutta and many places round 
led to considerable growth. The Samaj began once more to 
take a prominent place in thejjfe of Bengal. 

But there were difficulties. /\The Vedas were recognized as 
the sole standard of the faith of the Samaj ; and most of the 
members believed them to be verbally inspired. Duff was 
therefore justified in criticizing the Samaj for holding the 
plenary inspiration of such documents. A few of the more 
advanced members saw that it was no longer possible to hold 
the belief. )( In order that the matter might be settled on a 
sure basis, four students were sent to Benares, that each might 
study and copy one of the four Vedas, and bring back the fruits 
of his labour. They reached Calcutta in 1850 ; and the final 
1 Published in Brahma Dharma. 


"Iresult was that the inerrancy of the Vedas was altogether given] 
up. Thus the rationalism implicit in Ram Mohan s teaching! 
from the beginning became fully explicit; and the Samaj, , 
left without any authoritative standard of doctrine, was< 
thrown back on nature and intuition. Yet the Upanishads ] 
did not cease to be the chief scripture of the society ; for, just I 
at this crisis, Debendra compiled a series of extracts from 
Hindu literature, the bulk of them being from the Upanishads, > 
for use in public worship and private devotion. This volume 
is called Brahma Dharma, i.e. Brahma Religion. 

7. In^5j)a young man joined the Samaj who was destined 
to proveifo third leader. This was KshabChandra Sen 
(Kesavachandra Sena), a Calcutta student, who came of a well- 
known Vishnuite family of Vaidya caste, and had had a good ^ 
modern education. For two years he did nothing, but in 1859 
he became an active and successful worker. Debendra 
formed a great liking for his gifted young friend, while Keshab 
looked up to him with reverence and tenderness as to a father. 
\ In 1860 Keshab founded the Sangat Sabha, 1 or Believers 
I Association, which met regularly for devotional purposes and 
\ for the discussion of religious and social questions. In this 
weekly meeting the problem of the sacraments, samskaras, 
celebrated in Hindu homes on the occasion of births, mar 
riages and other family events, was discussed ; and their idola 
trous character stood out so clearly that the members came to 
the conclusion that Brahmas could not conscientiously take 
part in themrVjn consequence, Debendra decided that no 
idolatrous sacrament should ever be celebrated in his own 
home, and prepared, for the use of the Samaj, a set of modified 
ceremonies from which everything heathen and idolatrous had 
been eliminated. These are known as Brahma rites; the 
manual is called the Anushthana Paddhati; and Brahmas who 
use them are known as Anushthanic Brahmas. The worship 

1 The word Sangat is used by the Sikhs for a company of pious people. 


of Durga, which until now had been held every year in the 
Tagore residence, was given up, and the chamber in which 
the idol stood was converted into a chapel for family worship. 
KThe Sabha also discussed caste, with the result that the mem 
bers gave it up once and for all, and Debendra discarded his 
own sacred thread. f\^.t Keshab s suggestion, the Samaj be 
gan to follow the example of Christian philanthropy, and 
gathered money and food for the famine-stricken. He was 
daily coming more and more under the influence of Christ, 
and felt in the depths of his spirit that social service and social 
reform were the bounden duty of every serious theist. 

Keshab had had a good English education and had obtained 
a post in the Bank of Bengal. In 1861 he and several of his 
young friends gave up their positions, in order to become 
missionaries of the Samaj. Shortly afterwards, Keshab, 
though he was not a Brahman, was formally made a minister 
of the Samaj with the title of Acharya. 1 At this time also it 
was arranged that no minister of the Samaj, whether Brah 
man or non-Brahman, should wear the sacred thread. 

Amongst the new activities of the movement were the 
Brahma Vidyalaya, a sort of informal theological school, and 
a fortnightly English journal, The Indian Mirror, which soon 
became influential. 

In 1864 Keshab made a long tour extending as far as Madras 
and Bombay, and preached with great power and success 
wherever he went. As a result of his labours, a new society 
called the Veda Samaj was founded in Madras that same year. 
From this society the present Brahma Samaj of Madras has 
grown. During this tour the welcome which he received far 
and near, and the many openings which he saw, suggested to 
him the possibility of a Brahma Samaj for the whole of India. 

1 This led to the secession of a number of the older members of the Samaj, 
including Isvara Chandra Vidyasagara. They formed a new society, the 
Upasana Samaj, which did not last long. 


Three years later the men whom he had influenced in Bombay 
formed themselves into the Prarthana Samaj. 1 

S.raut all the changes and reforms which had come through 
Keshab s activity proved too much for the older members of 
the society ; and Debendra himself, though he felt like a 
father towards his gifted young helper, was very much 
afraid that spiritual religion would be sacrificed to the 
new passion for social reform. To him the latter was of 
very little consequence as compared with the former. 
He was still very much of a Hindu in feeling ; he believed 
that, however evil caste might be, members of the 
Samaj ought not to be compelled, in the circumstances 
of those days, to give it up.NHe was opposed to mar 
riages between people of different castes; and he could not 
endure the thought of widow-remarriage. Keshab s Chris- . 
tian studies, on the other hand, had led him and his associates | 
to see that th^oye^rtli^ow of^a^te^^J^^ 
the Hindu family were altogether necessary for the moral and 
religious health of India. There were religious differences 

between them also>a Debendra was a deeply devotional 
spirit, but the fact of sin and the need of repentance had made 
very little impression upon him ; while, through the teaching 
of Christ, Keshab and his party had become fully alive to 
the supreme importance of the ethical side of religion, both 
for the individual and the country. 

The consequence was the formation of two parties within 
the Samaj, each eager to be friendly with the other, and yet 
each unable to yield to the other ; and suspicion grew apace. 
On the 5th of October, 1864, a very violent cyclone visited 
Calcutta and Bengal, and so damaged the Brahma building 
that it became necessary to hold the services in Debendra s 
house. He seized this opportunity to allow ministers wearing 
the sacred thread to officiate. Keshab and his party protested 

1 P. 74, below. 


against this breach of the rules, while Debendra would not 
budge. Negotiations were carried on for some time, but 
without result. Consequently, early in 1865, Keshab^and 
his party withdrew, leaving Debendra and his followers with 

C^*^^"\,_ - ^--^ -w ^*^> -V-- s^-^/^.^^N^^---"" N.^ V-* 

all the property of the Samaj. Keshab was only twenty-four 
years of age. There were already fifty Samajes in Bengal, 
three in North India and one in Madras. 

9. Since the secession, the old Samaj has bec^mejnore 
Hindu than before. Its ambiguoust^oj^cal^osition. is 
rejlej^te^in^its undecided attitude^tojcaste. On this latter 
point one of its leaders wrote : 

In conformity with such views, the Adi Samaj has adopted 
{a Hindu form to propagate Theism among Hindus. It has 
(therefore retained many innocent Hindu usages and cus- 
torns. ... It leaves matters of social reformation to the 
{judgments and tastes of its individual members. ... If it 
tbe asked why should such social distinctions as caste be ob- 
* served at all, the reply is that the world is not yet prepared 
^for the practical adoption of the doctrines of levellers and 
{socialists. 1 

loT We may here sum up what we have to say about De 
bendra Nath Tagore ; for, though he preached from time to 
time, and now and then published something, during the 
forty years that intervened between the secession and his 
death in 1905, yet he no longer occupied his old prominent 
position. He spent most of his time in retirement and de 
votional exercises, either on the Himalayas or in his own home 
in Calcutta. .^ His great and noble character and his lofty 
spiritual nature so impressed his fellow-citizens that he was 
universally known as the Maharshi, the great Rishi or Seer ; 
and he was looked up to by all sections of the Samaj as the 
saintly patriarch of the movement. I had the pleasure of 
seeing and talking with him a few months before his death. 
1 HBS., 1, 189. 


From portrait by W. Archer, R.A. 



The bleached complexion and massive architecture of his face 
revealed even then, at the age of eighty-seven, the lofty spirit 
ual nature and the sensitive heart which had done so much in 
the far-away years. 

He regarded himself as a true Hindu, standing in the long 
noble succession of the thinkers and rapt devotees of the 
Vedanta ; and it is indeed true that a large measure of their 
reverence and inspiration had descended to him. But he failed 
to realize that the rejection of the authority of the Vedas, and 
above all of the doctrine of transmigration and karma, had set 
him outside the nexus of the peculiar beliefs and aspirations of 
Hinduism. Since he was unwilling to learn from Christ, and 
since he stood apart from the chief source of Hindu religious 
passion the desire for release from rebirth, his Samaj 
has barely succeeded in keeping afloat amid the fierce currents 
of modern thought and practical life. 

ii. Third Period, 1865-1878: T^wo^Sam^es: Theisjnjmd 
SocialR^orm. At this time I^sjiajb read a great deal of 
Christian literature and came mor^andjnpj^iinder^ Christian 
influence. Dean Stanley s Works, Robertson s Sermons, 
Liddon s Divinity of our Lord, the Theologica Germanica and 
Seeley s Ecce Homo were among the volumes which touched 
him most deeply. The influence of Seeley can be very dis 
tinctly felt in the lecture delivered in 1866 on Jesus Christ: 
Europe and Asia. He called attention to the fact that Jesus 
was an Asiatic, and spoke very freely of Christ s greatness 
and his supernatural moral heroism. The chief point of the 
lecture, however, is a straightforward, manly appeal, addressed 
to Europeans as well as his fellow-countrymen, to follow the 
moral precepts of Jesus. His enthusiasm for Christ led 
many to believe that he was about to become a Christian. 

Many of his followers turned enthusiastically to the study 
of the Bible at this time; and the touch of Christ produced a 
new seriousness among them, which showed itself in an eager 


desire to lead a pure and holy life, and a passion for saving 
souls. It was this that formed the temper of the missionary 
body. These men, seven or eight in number, all of them 
attached by the closest personal ties to Keshab, were the 
strength of the new movement. They were great in enthu 
siasm and self-sacrifice. They lived lives of simplicity and 
hard work, and suffered both privation and persecution. 
They went about preaching, and many individuals were won 
to the cause. Yet the seeds of future difficulty were already 
visible. There was no organization ; and so, although each 
missionary was bound to Keshab by strong religious ties, 
lack of definite arrangement and rule led to frequent 
quarrels amongst them, which Keshab found it hard to 

12. At the end of 1866 he formed a new society, called the 

>s/xw x^w \^~*s* 

^^^^^r^^l^.^, and invited all Brahmas through 
out the country to join it. Henceforward the original Samaj 
f was called the ^j^grjjgrj.a^jga^nlj, or original society. A 
number of the steady old members held by Debendra, but 
nearly the whole of the younger and more enthusiastic men 
followed Keshab ; and many noteworthy Brahmas in other 
parts of India also adhered to him. Unfortunately there 
was no constitution, no governing body, no rules. Every 
thing was left in Keshab s hands. Very soon afterwards a 
selection of theistic texts from the Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, 
Christian, Muhammadan and Chinese Scriptures was pub 
lished, under the title Slokasangraha, or Collection of Texts, 
for use in the services of the Samaj. The wider, freer outlook 
of the new body thus received very vivid expression. The 
society held its weekly service in Keshab s own house on 
Sundays, while the leaders still attended the regular service 
of the Adi Samaj, which was held on Wednesday. 

13. The separation from Debendra depressed Keshab, and 
threw him back on God. Hence, he and his fellow-mission- 


aries spent long days of fervent prayer and adoration in his 
house, seeking strength and courage from God. Ever since 
his conversion he had been a man of prayer, but he now en 
tered into a deeper experience of its joy and power than ever 

Set free from old restraints, and having round him a large 
body of enthusiasts who were ready for progress, he adopted a 
number of new practices which were meant to deepen and 
strengthen the religious life of the Samaj. The sources of his 
new methods were the Vishnuism of Chaitanya, 1 which was 
traditional in his own family, and Christianity, which was now 
influencing him so deeply. He began to use the old Vishnuite 
word bhakti, which covers both love for God and faith in Him, 
and to stir the members of the Samaj to live by it. One of 
his missionaries, Bijay Krishna Gosvami, was a lineal descend 
ant of one of the companions of Chaitanya. Keshab com 
missioned him to introduce the instruments used in the old 
sect, and begin sankirtana, 1 the enthusiastic singing in chorus, 
with musical accompaniments, of hymns of praise and devo 
tion. Chaitanya had also taught his followers to move in 
procession through the streets of a town, dancing and singing 
praise to God, with flags flying and drums beating. This 
nagarklrtana?- town-praise, was adopted and used in Calcutta 
with much success. He also drew up a new liturgy for use in 
the services, which is still widely used. From this time too 
the Brahmas have held several annual festivals, each lasting 
two or more days. The whole time is spent in prayer, worship 
and the hearing of religious addresses. Keshab thus did all 
in his power to start the new society in a living experience of 
God and His service. 

14. In August, 1869, a building in Machua Bazaar Street 
was opened for the use of the new Samaj with great rejoicings. 
Then, just as Ram Mohan did, after the opening of the original 

1 P. 293, below. 


building, Keshab suddenly announced, to the amazement of 
his friends, his intention of going to England. The Samaj 
was altogether without organization, and all its activities de 
pended entirely on Keshab himself ; so that it seemed rather 
unwise for him to go away. But some sort of arrangement 
was made, and Keshab took the journey. He was received in 
England with the utmost cordiality, delivered addresses in 
all parts of the country, met many noteworthy people, and 
made many new friends. The visit was also a great expe 
rience for Keshab : he returned to India with a new sense of 
the priceless value of the Christian home, and with his head 
filled with fresh schemes for social reform. 

15. The yo^mge^mejmbers of the^new^Samaj had been very 
s^jociajlf^ outset. They were, above all, 

enthusiastic advocates of the edu^ation^of^rls^nd^of^he 
emanc^^oj^of^wjom^n. Some of them began to take their 
wives witiuherrTto call on Christians and to social gatherings. 
They invented a new and becoming dress, more suited for 
outdoor wear and social intercourse than the rather scanty 
clothing of the stay-at-home Bengali wife. A new form of 
marriage-ritual was created, more truly expressive of progres 
sive Brahma feeling than the form in use in the old Samaj, 
and in it were included marriage-vows to be taken by the bride 
and bridegroom, in imitation of Christian marriage. They 
struggled to put down child-marriage. Several w$Q%? were 
| remarrie^ and more than one imma^^tweeji_^ejs^s 
I ^l^er^ni^c dsies was solemnized. Philanthropy was not 
neglected. In time of famine or epidemic they were ready to 
I help. 

Later, it became clear that there was no law in existence 
under which Brahma marriages could come. Hence Keshab 
appealed to the Government, and, after much discussion and 
difficulty, an Act^was^rjassed in 1872 which legalized Jhem. 
Pandit S. N. Sastr! remarks : 


The passing of this Act may be justly regarded as the crown-, 
ing success of the prolonged efforts of the reformers for the? 
amelioration of their social life. It abolished early marriage,^ 
made polygamy penal, sanctioned widow marriages and inter-* 
caste marriages. As such it was hailed with a shout of joy by* 
the progressives ; but ever since it has been one of the prin- * 
cipal causes that have alienated the Brahmos from the sym-( 
pathies of their orthodox countrymen. 1 

The new social activities which Keshab inaugurated on his 
return from England included a Normal Sdiool for girls, an 
Industrial SchooHor boys, the Victoria Institution for women, 
and the Bhdrat Asram, a home in which a number of families 
were gathered together for the cultivation of a better home- 
life, and for the education of women and children.- Journal 
ism was also eagerly pursued. The Indtan^Mirror became a 
d < aij^_rjar3er, and the Sulabh Samdchdr, the Cheap News, a 
Bengali weekly published at a farthing, began to appear. 

The movement was very successful. The tours of the 
missionaries in country towns, Keshab s tours to distant 
cities, and his great lectures in English drew great numbers 
of men to theism and rapidly built up the membership of the 
Samaj. Several of the other missionaries, notably Pratap 
Chandra Mozoomdar, were growing in strength and spiritual 

1 6. Yet Keshab began to be conscious that all was not well 
in the Samaj . An opposition party was being formed. There 
were several reasons for their dissatisfaction. While Keshab 
was in most things very progressive, he was oppose4jt giving 
women much freedom, and was very much afraid of the effects 
which a university education would produce on them. He 
had already done much to release them from the restraints of 
Hinduism, and he was in favour of giving girls a simple edu 
cation; but a lar^jmdjrrowmg ;_party were coming more 

I, 251. 


and more un^ej^thejgdl^JWestem jdeals, and they were de 
termined that their daughters should receive a good modern 
education. The second point of difference sprang from the 
supremacy of Keshab in the Samaj. He was so much bigger 
than any other Brahma, and his addresses showed so much 
inspiration, and influenced men so deeply, that he began to 
believe himself different from other men, dowered with a con 
stant inspiration from heaven; and some of his youthful 
. followers began to fall at his feet and to address him as Hindus 
/have been accustomed to address their gurus for many cen- 
turies. The party of progress and freedom were very sen 
sible of the extreme dangers of guruism in a modern body like 
the Samaj, and they protested seriously against it. Two of 
the missionaries actually left Keshab. It seems clear that he 
rebuked his young disciples when their enthusiasm carried 
them to extremes; yet in his lectures he used expressions 
which might well lead people to treat him as different from 
other men ; and Mozoomdar tells us frankly that he always 
favoured those who regarded him as the divinely commissioned 
leader of the movement, and severely criticized the opposite 
party. The worst point of all was his doctrine of adesh 
(ddesa). He declared that from time to time a direct_om- 
mand from God was laid upon him by srjeciajjevelation. The 
want of organization in the Samaj made matters still worse. 
It is probably true that he had no desire to be an autocrat ; 
yet, since there was no constitution, and since he objected to 
every form of popular government proposed by the other party, 
everything depended upon him, and he occupied, as a matter 
of fact, the position of master of the Samaj, whether he de 
served to be charged with autocracy or not. 

17. In a temple a few miles to the north of Calcutta there 
lived an ascetic known as Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, of 
whom we shall hear later. 1 Ke^hajD^ma^eJ^^ 

1 P. 188, below. 


went frequently to see him, and now and then took a large 
company of his followers with him. There can be no doubt 
that Keshab s appreciation of the man and his frequent praise 
of his devotion and his stimulating conversation did much to 
bring Ramakrishna into public notice, and to draw to him the 
crowds of disciples who listened to his words. We do not 
know when Keshab made his acquaintance, but Ramakrish- 
na s latest biographer states that it was about the year 1875 ; 
and that seems, on the whole, the most likely date. 1 Rama 
krishna was a man of deeply religious nature. He was a true 
Hindu, little touched by Western influences, holding the Ve- 
danta philosophy, ready to worship any Hindu idol, and pre 
pared to defend any Hindu belief or practice against all 
comers, yet also cojrvjn^d^a > tjd^rcl^ that 

no man should leave the faith into which he has beer^born. 

Feeling very distinctly the growing opposition in the air 
around him, Keshab sought once more by prayer, consecra 
tion and new forms of renunciation to unite and strengthen 
the missionary body, and to fill the whole Samaj with such 
enthusiastic devotion as to preclude the possibility of dis 
union. The practices which he adopted himself and which he 
induced his missionaries to adopt at this time are so very 
different in spirit from the methods of devotion that he em 
ployed earlier, and are so distinctlv^Hindu, that one is tempted 
to see in them evidence of the influence of Ramakrishna. 

-\--**^-> ^-~ ~-^ S^C W-wJ- 

Here is the account given by Sastri : 

It was not entirely the asceticism of the spirit that he in 
culcated at this time ; for he countenanced, both by precept 
and example, some of the external forms of it. For instance, 
he himself gave up the use of metallic drinking cups, substi 
tuting earthen ones for them, his example being followed by 
many of the missionaries ; he took to cooking his own food and 
constructed a little thatched kitchen on the terrace of the third 

1 P. 194, below. 


story of his Kalutolah house for that purpose ; and introduced 
the ektara, a rude kind of musical instrument and the mendicant s 
drinking bowl, well-known to a sect of Vaishnavas. . . . One 
thing, however, was remarkable. Along with the development 
of these tendencies there was visible a decline of the old philan 
thropic activities of the Samaj. The educational and other 
institutions started under the Indian Reform Association, for 
instance, began to decline from this time. Very great stress 
was laid on meditation and retirement from the world. With 
a view to giving practical effect to these ideas, Mr. Sen pur 
chased a garden in the village of Morepukur, within a few 
miles of Calcutta, in 1876, and duly consecrated it to that 
purpose on the 2oth of May that year, under the name of Sadhan 
Kanan, or "Forest Abode for Religious Culture." Here many 
of the missionaries of the Samaj spent with him most of the 
days of the week in meditation and prayer, in cooking their 
own food, in drawing water, in cutting bamboos, in making and 
paving roads, in constructing their cabins, in planting and 
watering trees, and in cleansing their bedrooms. As marks 
of their asceticism they began to sit below trees on carpets 
made of hides of tigers and of other animals, in imitation of 
Hindu mendicants and spend long hours in meditation. . . . 
It was towards the end of this year that Mr. Sen introduced a 
fourfold classification of devotees. He chose from amongst his 
missionaries four different sets of men to represent four types 
of religious life. The Yogi, or the adept in rapt communion, 
the Bhakta, or the adept in rapturous love of God, the Jnani, 
or the earnest seeker of true knowledge and the Shebak, 
or the active servant of humanity. These four orders were 
constituted and four different kinds of lessons were given to 
the disciples .of the respective classes. 1 

He succeeded by these means in binding the missionaries to 
himself, but he failed with a large section of his followers. 

1 8. Yet things might have continued as they were for some 
time, but for a chance occurrence, which led to a serious prac 
tical application of the doctrine of adesh 2 by Keshab, and which 

1 HBS., I, 269-71. 2 P. 50, above. 


convinced the opposing party that they were absolutely right 
in their estimate of him. The Government of Bengal had had 
the yojmgjieir to^diejiative^tate of Kuch Bihar (in North 
Bengal) carefully educated under English officials, so that he 
might become a capable modern ruler, and they had arranged 
that he should proceed on a visit to England. But his mother 
demanded that he should be married before leaving India; 
and the Government officials who were responsible for his 
training were most anxious that he should be married to a cul 
tured girl who would be a help and not a hindrance to him. 
Consequently, the proposal was made that he should marry 
Now, the Brahma leader had been 

fighting idolatry and child-marriage for many years; and, 
through his influence, a special Marriage Act had been passed 
for Brahmas. 1 The young prince and Keshab s daughter 
were both under age from the point of view of the Brahma 
Marriage Law. Further, the Kuch Bihar family were Hin 
dus ; and, consequently, the prince could not be married as a 
Brahma. His marriage would necessarily be a Hindu mar 
riage; and there could be no guarantee that he would not 
marry other wives. It was thus perfectly clear that Keshab 
could not consistently agree to the marriage. But several 
things conspired to make it difficult to refuse. The Govern 
ment were most eager to see it carried out. Already tentative 
proposals had been made with regard to the daughter of 
another Brahma, with whom the alliance would be made, 
if Keshab declined it. The young man himself declared that 
he was a theist, and that he would not marry more than one 
wife ; yet, as he was not a member of the Samaj, that could 
not alter the character of the marriage. Indeed, since Kuch 
Bihar is a native state, the Brahma Marriage Act was alto 
gether inapplicable. Government, however, extracted prom 
ises from the Kuch Bihar family, that everything idolatrous 
1 P. 48, above. 


would be excluded from the ceremony, and that the marriage 

would be in fact a betrothal, as the parties would not live 

together until the young man returned from England, when 

both would be of age. But what decided Keshab was the 

. doctrine of adesh. He believed that he had received from God 

a command to go on with the wedding ; and therefore, in spite 

jof all the facts already mentioned, and in spite of the vehe- 

Sment protests of a large party in the Samaj, he gave his 

t consent. 

As was to be expected, the Kuch Bihar family did not carry 
out their promises. The wedding as celebrated was a Hindu 
marriage; idolatrous implements and symbols were in the 
pavilion ; and, though Keshab and his daughter both with 
drew before any idolatrous ceremonies took place, the ritual 
was completed by the Hindu priests in the presence of the 
bridegroom in the usual way. 

19. A tremendous stonn_follwed j m. Calcutta. The oppos 
ing party did their best to depose Keshab, and to seize the 
building, but failed in both attempts. Finally, they left the 
Samaj, a great body of intelligent and influential men. For 
many years a fierce controversy raged round the details of the 
wedding ; but the facts are now quite clear. A little pam 
phlet, called A Brief Reminiscence of Keshub Chunder Sen, 1 
written by Miss Pigot, the pioneer Zenana Missionary of the 
Church of Scotland, who was most intimate with Keshab and 
his family, and accompanied the little bride to the wedding, 
gives a clear and intelligible account of all that happened. 

20. Fourth Period, 1878-1884: Three Sama^es: Keshab s 
New Dispensation. Most of the missionaries, a number of 

t, . ^^-~--s^ -s^^^w 

outstanding men and a section of the rank and file held by 
Keshab, but the major portion of the membership went out. 
All the provincial Samajes were consulted, and the majority 
fell in with the new movement. The name chosen was the 
1 Published in Calcutta in 1910. 




Sadharan Brahma Samaj ; and great care was taken to or 
ganize the society in a representative way, so as to avoid the 
single-man government and the consequent changes of teach 
ing which had caused so much trouble in the old body. The 
word sddharan means "general," and is clearly meant to sug 
gest that the society is catholic and democratic. \ With regard 
to doctrine and practice, they were anxious to continue the 
old theistic teaching and the social service and philanthropy 
which had characterized Keshab s Samaj to begin with. K They 
were especially eager to go forward with female education. It 
was the easier tc organize a representative government and to 
secure continuity of teaching, because, while there were many 
able men among them, there was no outstanding leader. Of 
the four missionaries appointed the most prominent was 
Pandit Siva Nath Sastrl. On the 22nd of January, 1881, 
their new building in Cornwallis Street was opened. 

Yet, despite the great schism, Keshab retained the primacy 
in Brahmaism by sheer genius and force of character until his 
death in 1884. His achievements during the last six years 
of his life are very remarkable, the extraordinary freshness of 
his thinking and writing, and the many new elements he in 
troduced into his work. Yet, though very brilliant, these 
innovations have not proved nearly so fruitful and lasting as 
his early contributions to the cause. They will be more 
intelligible grouped under three heads, than set out in chron 
ological order. 

21. The first group comes under the head of his own phrase, 
the New Dispensation. For some years it had been clear that 
he thought of himself as having a special divine commission. 
That idea now becomes explicit. There have been a number 
of divine dispensations in the past : he is now the divinely 
appointed leader of the New Dispensation, in which all reli 
gions are harmonized, and which all men are summoned to 
enter as their spiritual home. He and his missionaries are 


the apostles of this new and universal church. But this claim, 
which, if logically carried out, would have set him, as the 
centre of the final religion of all time, far above Christ, Buddha, 
Muhammad and every other leader, is crossed and hindered 
by two other thoughts, each of which influenced him power 
fully during the last section of his life ; first, the idea that all 
religions are true, which he took over from Ramakrishna 
Paramahamsa, and, secondly, a belief in the supremacy 
of Christ as the God-man. Consequently, all his teaching 
about the New Dispensation lacks consistency and grip. 

On the anniversary day in January in_i88i_he appeared on 
the platform, with twelve of his missionaries around him, 
under a new red banner, on which were inscribed the words 
Naba Bidhan (Njva^Vtdhgga), that is, Nej^Dis^ensati^n, and 
/also an extraordinary syjnbpl made up of the Hindii^tridejit, 
?the Christian^cross and the crescent ofj[slam. On the table 
Hay the Scriptures of the four greatest religions of the world, 
Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Muhammadanism. 
Four of the apostles were specially appointed that each might 
) study the Scriptures of one of these religions. Henceforward, 
\the phrase Brahma Samaj falls into the background, and 
s Keshab s body is known as The Church of the New Dispensation. 
Feeling now more confident of his own inspiration, he fre 
quently issued proclamations in the name of God, calling upon 
all men to accept the New Dispensation, and pronouncing 
those who had left him infidels, apostates and disobedient 
men. In keeping with the universality ascribed to the New 
Dispensation, the faithful were exhorted to turn their thoughts 
to the great men of all nations. One of the methods employed 
was to go on pilgrimage in imagination to see one of the great 
ones, and to spend some time in meditation on his teaching, 
achievements and virtues. Men and women were formed into 
orders of various kinds, and solemn vows were laid upon them. 
22. The second group of innovations comes from Hinduism. 


How far Keshab had moved from his early theism may be 
seen from the following facts. In his early days he was a 
stern theist, and vehemently denounced polytheism and 
idolatry of every type. He was seriously opposed to all 
coquetting with other systems, believing that it was dangerous. 
When Mr. Sasipada Banerjea founded at Baranagar, near 
Calcutta, in 1823, /the Sddhdrana Dharma Sabhd, i.e. the 

^ the platform of which was? 

open to Hindu/ Buddhists, Muslims and Christians as well? 
as to Brahmas, Keshab roundly cojidemned it, as the follow 
ing sentences from his own paper show : 

We cannot but regard this new Society as a solemn sham . 
before God and man. The members seem to have no fixed 
religioj/in them, and, in endeavouring to commend every creed, 
they yonly betray their anxiety to mock and insult everything $ 
sacred. Such dishonest latitudinarianism ought to be put 

lut somewhere about 1875 Keshab made the acquaintance of 
IJjnakrishna, and thereafter saw him frequently and listened 
with great pleastrr^ndinterest to his teaching. Now one of 
the most outstanding me^voQhat gifted man was this, that 
all^rcligions jrcjnie. 2 In Januar}>-i88i, the New Dispensa 
tion was formally announced, as described above; and in 
the Sunday Mirror of October 23rd the following sentences 
appeared : 

Our position is not that truths are to be found in all religions ;| 
but that all the established religions of the world are true.l 
There is a great deal of difference between the two assertions, f 

The glorious mission of the New Dispensation is to har-j 
monise religions and revelations, to establish the truth of every j 
particular dispensation, and upon the basis of these particulars / 

1 This quotation occurs in an article in the Indian Mirror of Oct. isth, 
1896, called Prof. Max M idler on the Paramhansa. 

2 P. 197, below. 


to establish the largest and broadest induction of a general and 
glorious proposition. 1 

One of Ramakrishna s friends had a pjcture^airrted 

ing the dependence of Keshab on Ramakrishna in this matter. 

It is dealt with below. 2 

It was doubtless this idea, that all religions are true, and 
that their harmony can be demonstrated, which prompted 
Keshab to adopt a number of ceremonies from both Hinduism 
and Christianity and to seek so to interpret a great deal of 
Hindu doctrine and practice as to make it appear consistent 
with theism. He called God Mother. He adopted the homa 
sacrifice and the aratl ceremony (the waving of lights) into 
Brahma ritual. He expounded polytheism and idolatry as if 
they were variant forms of theism. He found spiritual nour 
ishment in the Durga Puja, i.e. the annual festival held in 
October in Bengal in honour of the demon-slaying Durga, the 
blood-thirsty wife of Siva. In imitation of the 108 names of 
Vishnu, a Sanskrit hymn of praise, recounting 108 names of 
God, was composed, and became an integral part of the lit 
urgy of his Church. 3 Chaitanya s religious dance was intro 
duced to express religious joy. 4 Prayers were addressed to 
the Ganges, to the moon and to fire, as creatures of God and 
expressions of His power and His will. 

23. The thmljyroinojD^^ from^Christianity. 

Baptism and the Lord s Supper were both introduced into 
New Dispensation ritual. But of far more importance than 
these ceremonies were the new pieces of Christian doctrine 
adopted, above all, certain new convictions about the person 
of Christ. 

Ram Mohan Ray recognized clearly that Christ had a great 
contribution to make to Indian religion. He believed that 

1 1 owe these quotations to HBS., II, 96. 3 HBS., II, 66. 

2 P. 198. 4 P. 293, below. 


the ancient Vedanta was all that India needed in the way of 
theology ; but in the matter of ethics he saw the supremacy 
of Jesus ; and in The Precepts of Jesus 1 he laid the ethical 
teaching of Christ before his fellow-countrymen, and told 
them plainly that they required to study it and live by it. To 
him these precepts were the path to peace and happiness. 

Keshab from the very beginning realized the truth which 
Ram Mohan had expressed ; but, even in his early lectures, he 
went far beyond Ram Mohan s standpoint, and that in three 

a. The first of these is the reo)gnitipji_of^^ the 

charactero^_Chnst, and its value as an example to man. We 
quote from Keshab s lecture, Jesus Christ: Europe and Asia: 

What moral serenity and sweetness pervade his life ! What 
extraordinary tenderness and humility what lamb-like meek 
ness and simplicity ! His heart was full of mercy and for 
giving kindness : friends and foes shared his charity and love. 
And yet, on the other hand, how resolute, firm, and unyielding 
in his adherence to truth ! He feared no mortal man, and 
braved even death itself for the sake of truth and God. Verily, 
when we read his life, his meekness, like the soft moon, ravishes 
the heart and bathes it in a flood of serene light ; but when we 
come to the grand consummation of his career, his death on 
the cross, behold he shines as the powerful sun in its meridian 
splendour ! 

Christ tells us to forgive our enemies, yea, to bless them that 
curse us, and pray for them that despitefully use us ; he tells 
us, when one smites the right cheek, to turn the left towards 
him. Who can adequately conceive this transcendent charity ? 
The most impressive form in which it practically manifests it 
self is in that sweet and tender prayer which the crucified Jesus 
uttered in the midst of deep agony "Father, forgive them, 
for they know not what they do." 2 

1 P. 32, above. 2 Lectures in India, 25-6. 


b. The second is thesense^o^jin and all it leads to. We 
quote from the historian of the Brahma Samaj. He remarks : 

Keshub Chunder opened his heart to the Christian spirit, 
and it begat a sense of sin and the spirit of earnest prayer. 1 

The infusion of the Christian spirit brought into the field 
another characteristic Christian sentiment, namely, an enthu 
siasm for saving fellow-sinners by carrying to them the new 
gospel. . . . The spirit of utter self-surrender in which the 
new missionaries took up their work after the schism was a 
wonder to all. . . . Amongst the new principles imbibed from 
the study of the life of Christ was one, "Take no thought for 
the morrow," which they wanted to carry literally into prac 
tice. . . . Their young wives, most of them below twenty, 
touched by the new enthusiasm, shared in all their privations 
with a cheerful alacrity. The memory of these days will ever 
remain in our minds as a truly apostolic period of Brahmo his 
tory, when there was a spirit of real asceticism without that 
talk of it, in which the Church abounded in subsequent times. 2 

c. The third is the Christian attitude to social life. We 
again quote from the history : 

Mr. Sen tried to view social questions from the standpoint 
of pure and spiritual faith, making the improvement of their 
social life an accessory to men s progress in spiritual life. Social 
reform naturally came as a part of that fundamental concep 
tion. Under the influence of their leader the progressive party 
tried to abjure those social abuses that tended to degrade society 
or encourage vice or injustice. The conviction became strong 
in them that it was only by raising and ennobling man s social 
life that a pure and spiritual religion like theism could establish 
itself as a social and domestic faith of man and convert human 
society into a household of God. This conviction took firm 
possession of Mr. Sen s mind and he unfurled the banner of 
social reform by systematic efforts for the abolition of caste 

., I, 133. 2 /&., I, 209-11. 


and also by trying to communicate new light and new life to 
our womanhood. 

We may justly ascribe this passion for social reform to the 
influence of Mr. Sen s Christian studies. The reason for my 
ascribing it to Christian influence is that it is so unlike the 
Hindu teaching on the subject, with which we are familiar. 1 

These three aspects of Christ scarcely appear in Ram 
Mohan s teaching, but they were the very pith and marrow of 
Keshab s doctrine. Indeed, as the last extracts shew, they 
were the source of all the life and vigour which Keshab suc 
ceeded in pouring into his missionaries and followers during 
the first twenty years of his public life. This fact was very 
vividly present to Keshab s mind. Here are his own words : 

Christ has been my study for a quarter of a century. That 
God-Man they say half God and half man walks daily 
all over this vast peninsula, from the Himalayas to Cape Co- 
morin, enlightening and sanctifying its teeming millions. He 
is a mighty reality in Indian history. He is to us a living and 
moving spirit. We see him and commune with him. He 
permeates society as a vital force, and imbues our daily life, 
and is mixed with our thoughts, speculations and pursuits. 2 

24. But from 1879 onward there is a further advance. 
Thus far Christ had been to Keshab only a religious leader, 
distinctly the greatest of all the prophets, but irTno sense 
divine. From now the problem of the person of Christ oc 
cupies a large place in his mind. He began the discussion of 
the question in his lecture, India asks: Who is Christ? de 
livered in 1879. He starts from the words, "I and My 
Father are one," and explains them as follows : 

Christ really believed that he and his Father were one, or 
he would not have said so. He spoke the truth, unmixed and 
pure truth, when he announced this fact. "I can of mine 

1 HBS., I, 296-7. 2 Lectures in India, 330. 

own self do nothing," "I am in my Father, and my Father in 

I am, therefore, bound to admit that Christ really believed 
that he and his Father were one. When I come to analyse 
this doctrine, I find in it nothing but the philosophical principle 
underlying the popular doctrine of self-abnegation, self- 
abnegation in a very lofty spiritual sense. 1 

Therefore, I say this wonderful man had no thought what 
ever of self, and lived in God. This unique character of com 
plete self-surrender is the most striking miracle in the world s 
history which I have seen, and which it is possible for the mind 
to conceive. 2 

He declares that God sent Christ to be the perfect example of 
sonship to men : 

An example of true sonship was needed. . . . Perfect 
holiness dwelt in the Father, the eternal fountain-head of all 
that is true, and good and beautiful. It comprehended all 
manner of holiness. It had in it the germs of all forms of vir 
tue and righteousness. Purity of life dwelt in Him in its ful 
ness and integrity. Out of this substance the Lord took out 
only one form of purity, that which applies to the son in his 
relations to the Father and his brethren, and comprises the whole 
round of human duties and virtues, and having given it a human 
shape, said, Go and dwell thou in the world and show forth 
unto nations divine sonship. 3 

He also declares that Christ fulfils Hinduism : 

He conies to fulfil and perfect that religion of communion 

I for which India has been panting, as the hart panteth after the 
waterbrooks. Yes, after long centuries shall this communion 
be perfected through Christ. 4 

Then in his lecture on the Trinity, in 1882, Christ is definitely 
caUed the Logos, the Son of God, the second person of the 

1 Lectures in India, 245-6. 8 Ib., 251-2. 

2/6., 249. </&., 258. 


You see how the Lord asserted His power and established 
His dominion in the material and the animal kingdom, and 
then in the lower world of humanity. When that was done the 
volume of the Old Testament was closed. The New Testament 
commenced with the birth of the Son of God. . . . Having 
exhibited itself in endless varieties of progressive existence, 
the primary creative Force at last took the form of the Son 
in Christ Jesus. 1 

Gentlemen, look at this clear triangular figure with the eye 
of faith, and study its deep mathematics. The apex is the 
very God Jehovah, the Supreme Brahma of the Vedas. Alone, 
in His own eternal glory, He dwells. From Him comes down 
the Son in a direct line, an emanation from Divinity. Thus 
God descends and touches one end of the base of humanity, 
then running all along the base permeates the world, and then 
by the power of the Holy Ghost drags up regenerated humanity 
to Himself. Divinity coming down to humanity is the Son; 
Divinity carrying up humanity to heaven is the Holy Ghost. 2 

Through Israel came the First Dispensation; in Christ we 
have the Dispensation of the Son; while Keshab s own 
movement is the Dispensation of the Holy Spirit : 

The Old Testament was the First Dispensation; the New 
Testament the Second ; unto us in these days has been vouch 
safed the Third Dispensation. 3 

25. But all this inevitably raises the question, How could 
Keshab teach in this strain and yet declare all religions true, 
and introduce Hindu ceremonies into the ritual of his services ? 
There is only one way of accounting for it : we must recog 
nize that Keshab was not a consistent thinker, far less a sys 
tematic theologian. Illustrations of inconsistency are sown 
thick in his lectures. Thus in 1876, six years before the 
lecture on the Trinity, while he was still pledged to the doc 
trine that Christ is a mere man, the very first sentence of one 
of his lectures runs : 

1 H>.,&6. * Ib., 338. 3 Ib., 356. 


I verily believe that, when Jesus Christ was about to leave 
this world, he made over the sacred portfolio of the ministry 
of his Church to the Holy Spirit. 1 

What manner of man is this who stands in official relations 
with the Spirit of the Universe ? The truth is that he was 
dazzled with the glitter of Ramakrishna s idea of the harmony 
of all religions; and, having once accepted the thought, he 
proceeded, in confidence in it, to attempt to hold in his own 
mind, at the same moment, the essential principles of Hin 
duism, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, and his own 
old theism. Perhaps the most amazing example of inconsist 
ency occurs within the limits of a single paragraph in his lec 
ture We Apostles of the New Dispensation, delivered in Janu 
ary, 1 88 1, when the New Dispensation was announced. He 
first sets his own Dispensation on a level with Christ s : 

Is this new gospel a Dispensation, or is it simply a new sys 
tem of religion, which human understanding has evolved? I 
say it stands upon the same level with the Jewish dispensation, 
the Christian dispensation, and the Vaishnava dispensation 
through Chaitanya. It is a divine Dispensation, fully entitled 
to a place among the various dispensations and revelations of 
the world. But is it equally divine, equally authoritative? 
Christ s Dispensation is said to be divine. I say that this 
Dispensation is equally divine. 2 

He then sets himself on a level with Christ : 

If Christ was the centre of his Dispensation, am I not the 
centre of this ? 3 

And immediately thereafter there follows this most touching 
piece of self-humiliation : 

Shall a sinner vie with Christ for honours? God forbid. 
Jesus was a born saint, and I am a great sinner. Blessed 
Jesus ! I am thine. I give myself, body and soul, to thee. If 

1 Lectures in India, 161. 2 /&., 298. 3 76., 299. 


India will revile and persecute me, and take my life-blood out 
of me, drop by drop, still, Jesus, thou shalt continue to have my 
homage. I have taken the vow of loyalty before thee, and I 
will not swerve from it, God help me ! These lips are thine 
for praise, and these hands are thine in service. Son of God, 
I love thee truly. And, though scorned and hated for thy 
sake, I will love thee always, and remain an humble servant 
at thy blessed feet. Yet, I must tell you, gentlemen, that I 
am connected with Jesus Gospel, and occupy a prominent 
place in it. I am the prodigal son of whom Christ spoke, and 
I am trying to return to my Father in a penitent spirit. Nay, 
I will say more for the satisfaction and edification of my op 
ponents. I am not Jesus, but I am Judas, that vile man who 
betrayed Jesus into the hands of his infuriated persecutors. 
That man s spirit is in me. The veritable Judas, who sinned 
against truth and Jesus, lodges in my heart. If I honour Jesus, 
and claim a place among his disciples, is there not another side 
of my life which is carnal and worldly and sinful ? I am Judas- 
like so far as I love sin. Then tell me not I am trying to exalt 
myself. No. A prophet s crown sits not on my head. My 
place is at Jesus feet. 1 

No further proof is wanted of the unsystematic character of 
Keshab s thinking. Clearly, he had not worked the contents 
of his mind into any kind of consistent unity. 

26. But another problem remains, his relation to Christ. 
His habitual want of consistency explains how he could hold 
self-contradictory ideas, but the extraordinary place which 
Christ holds in his teaching needs explanation. The needs of 
the time, and the wonderful way in which the teaching of 
Christ meets them, account for the hold which Christ s ethi 
cal and social teaching have taken of the Brahma Samaj as 
a whole; but they do not account for the tenderness and 
passion which mark Keshab s every reference to Jesus nor for 
his interest in the problem of Christology. The simple fact 
is that Keshab s religious experience was from beginning to 

1 Ib., 299. 


end rooted in Christ; and he was thereby driven steadily 
forward, steadily nearer an adequate account of Christ s 
person and His relation to God. His lectures show quite 
clearly that his religious experience depended largely on 

My Christ, my sweet Christ, the brightest jewel of my heart, 
the necklace of my soul for twenty years have I cherished 
him in this my miserable heart. Though often denied and 
persecuted by the world, I have found sweetness and joy un 
utterable in my master Jesus. . . . The mighty artillery of 
his love he levelled against me, and I was vanquished, and I 
fell at his feet. 1 

The Father cannot be an example of sonship. Only the 
Son can show what the son ought to be. In vain do I go to 
the Vedas or to Judaism to learn sonship. That I learn at the 
feet of my sweet Christ, my Father s beloved Son. 2 

All over my body, all through my inner being I see Christ. 
He is no longer to me a doctrine or a dogma, but with Paul I 
cry, For me to live is Christ. . . . Christ is my food and drink, 
and Christ is the water that cleanses me. 3 

There can be no doubt as to the meaning of these words.. 
Further, the solution of the problem of the three amazing 
passages quoted on page 64 lies here, that in his theory of 
the New Dispensation we have his loose but brilliant think 
ing, while in the touching sentences where he contrasts 
himself with Christ we have a living transcript from his reli 
gious experience. Practically every difficulty which Keshab s 
life presents to the student (and they are not few) becomes 
comprehensible when we realize to the full these two facts : 
he was not a systematic, thinker, and his religious experience 
sprang from Christ. 

But we may go one step farther still. Keshab s richest 
religious experience came from Christ, and, in consequence, 
in the latter part o f his life, his deepest theological beliefs 

1 Lectures in India, 260. 2 Ib., 344. 3 Ib., 393. 


were fully Christian, but he never surrendered himself to 
Christ as Lord. He retained the government of his life in 
his own hands. I also believe that this is the only way in 
which we can explain the spiritual experience of his friend and 
biographer, Pratap Chandra Mozoomdar, and of two or three 
others of the missionaries. 

The theological position of these men stands out quite 
clear from a number of facts. 

The late Registrar of Calcutta University, Mr. K. C. 
Banurji, a Bengali Christian universally loved and respected, 
was very intimate with Keshab; and he maintained, with 
great consistency and earnestness, that Keshab died a Chris 
tian. Had Mr. Banurji been an ordinary man, it might have 
been said that he had been misled by some chance expression, 
such as one meets in Keshab s published writings, and the 
inconsistency of which the leader was so often guilty would 
have been sufficient explanation. But Mr. Banurji was no 
ordinary man ; and he had no hazy, indistinct conception of 
Christian faith. He had followed Keshab s history closely 
for many years, and was most intimate with him. It is thus 
certain that, in conversation with Mr. Banurji, Keshab gave 
expression to a full, clear, distinct faith in Jesus Christ. 

Mr. P. C. Mozoomdar, one day, had a long unhurried con 
versation with a friend of the writer, a missionary in the North. 
In the course of the talk my friend gave expression to the deep 
est convictions of his Christian life. Mr. Mozoomdar assured 
him that his own faith, and Keshab s also, was precisely the 
same, and said that the reason why he and Keshab did not 
give public expression to these beliefs was that they held they 
would be more likely to bring their fellow-countrymen to full 
faith in Christ by a gradual process than by a sudden declara 
tion of all they believed. 1 

1 He must have spoken in the same way in South India. Madras Decen 
nial Miss. Con}. Report, 310. 


Some eleven or twelve years ago, in a brief article, I had 
ignorantly spoken of all Brahmas as Unitarians. In a cour 
teous note, the only letter I ever received from Mr. Mozoom- 
dar, he protested against the statement so far as the Church 
of the New Dispensation was concerned, declaring himself 
and his fellow-believers to be Trinitarians. During the last 
twenty years articles have frequently appeared in the pages 
of Unity and the Minister (a weekly published under the New 
Dispensation) , which, if taken seriously from the standpoint 
of theology, undoubtedly imply the full Christian faith. My 
own personal intercourse with several of the leaders would 
also tend to prove that they had learned from Keshab to re 
gard Christ as the Son of God and the Saviour. 

Yet, so far as my experience and reading reach, there is no 
evidence that these men ever allowed their faith to rule their 
life. There was never the full surrender of the soul to the 
Saviour. There was something that restrained. They re 
garded Jesus as the eternal Son, but they lived the life of 
theists, following now one master, now another. An incident 
in Keshab s life fits in well with this judgment. One of the 
missionaries of the New Dispensation, who was very intimate 
with him, and who believed that he was a servant of Christ 
and would remain such to the end, went to see the great leader 
as he lay dvjng in his home, Lily Cottage, Calcutta. He 
found him rolling on his bed in great pain, crying aloud in 
prayer to God in Bengali. Great was his friend s astonish 
ment to catch the following words repeated over and over 

Buddher Ma, Sakyer Ma, nirban dao, 

\i.e. " Mother of Buddha, Mother of the Sakyan, grant me 
^Nirvana." What an extraordinary mixture of ideas this sen- 
f tence bears witness to ! Thus Keshab s deepest convictions 
were Christian beliefs, yet he was not a Christian. 


He passed away on the 8th of January, 1884, leaving his 
Samaj shepherdless. 

27. Fifth Period, 188^-1^13 : th^Sadha^ 
It has been already stated that, from the beginning, there 
were disputes, and even quarrels, among the missionaries, 
which Keshab found it difficult to control. One day, in Lily 
Cottage, when some little difference of this kind was being 
talked about, Keshab pointed to a velvet pincushion, and said, 
"You are like the pins, united in the pincushion. When I 
am taken away, there will be nothing to hold you together." 
The words were prophetic. Ever since the leader s death, his 
whole following has been reduced to the utmost weakness by 
the quarrels of the missionaries. There are ttee^sub-cUyi- , 
sions, each of which holds a separate service on Sunday, and ^ 
there are individuals who will unite with none. But it is not 
personal differences only that have led to this state of affairs ; 
the irreconcilable elements in the leader s teaching, now 
held by different minds, render real union impossible. It was 
largely because P. C. Mozoomdar was so much of a Christian 
that his brethren refused to make him their leader. The 
tendency to make Keshab an inspired guru, which led to the 
Kuch-Bihar marriage and the great secession, operated most 
disastrously. After his death one party declared that he was 
still their leader, and that no one could ever take his place in 
the Samaj building, while the others opposed vehemently. 
Some still keep up this foolish idea. They call the anniver 
sary of his death the day of " the Master s Ascension " ; 1 and 
the room in which he died, kept precisely as it was then, is 
i entered reverently, as if it were a shrine. For nine and twenty 
} years the Samaj has been dismembered and rendered impo- 
i tent by divisions and brawls ; and there is no sign of better 

28. The Adj_Brahma Samaj stillholds Readily on, but there 

1 A recent book calls him " God-man Keshub " and " Lord and Master." 


are few members apart from the family of Debendra Nath 
Tagore. The saintly old leader lived to the age of eighty- 
seven, passing away inUgo^ After his death a fragment of 
an ^jobio^ra^hy^n^B^^. was published, and later still 
was translated into English by one of his sons. It is a very 
modest document but contains a remarkable spiritual record. 
It is one of the most valuable pieces of literature the Adi 
Samaj has produced. Debendra s fourth son, Mr^Jlabmdra 
Nath^Tagore, now so famous as a poet, 1 frequently preaches 
in the building. 

29. The Sadharan^^lmi^a^naj, on the other hand, has 
(made steady, solid progress since its formation in 1878. It has 
.now a large body of members and adherents in Calcutta, and 
: its services are well attended. Most of the provincial Samajes 
( are connected with it. It is the only section of the Brahma 
j Samaj whose missionaries are able from time to time to go on 
.preaching tours. It is a living, effective body, though not 
I large. Its history need not detain us. A brief sketch of its 
organization and its teaching must suffice. 

The Samaj is under the control of a General Committee of a 
hundred members elected both from Calcutta and the prov 
inces. The President, the Secretary with three Assistant 
Secretaries, and the Treasurer, together with thirteen others 
chosen by the General Committee from among its members, 
form the Executive. This form of organization has suc 
ceeded in making the government of the Samaj representative 
and democratic. This body governs the Sadharan Brahma 
Samaj of Calcutta and its missionaries, and also bears rela 
tions to the majority of the provincial Samajes. Forty-one 
of the provincial Samajes are called "Associated Samajes": 
they pay a certain annual subscription to the central body, 
and are entitled to receive help from the missionaries. The 
majority of the other Samajes are in fellowship with the Sad- 
1 P. 383, below. 


haran Samaj of Calcutta, although some have closer relations 
with the Adi Samaj or the New Dispensation or the Prarthana 
Samaj in Bombay. 

The bulk of the work of the Samaj is carried on by the nine 
missionaries ; but a good deal is also done by the Sevak Man- 
dali or Circle of Laymen. The heaviest work undertaken is 
the tours made in the provinces by the missionaries, to 
strengthen existing work and win new adherents. Apart from 
these, the chief forms of effort are the Sunday Services in the 
building, the Students Weekly Service, the Sangat Sabha (a 
sort of Methodist Class Meeting), the Working Men s Mission 
at Baranagar, near Calcutta, the Brahmo Young Men s Union, 
and the Samaj newspapers, the Indian Messenger and the 
Tattva Kaumudi. The Calcutta congregation has more than 
800 members and a very large number of adherents. The 
mission on the Khasi Hills in Assam is perhaps the most not 
able piece of work being done outside Calcutta. The Khasis 
are a very simple race, who had no education or literature 
until the Welsh Calvinistic Mission waked them to an alto 
gether new life. The Brahmas have won some fifty families. 

In IQII there were 183 Brahma Samajes in India ; and 5504 1. 
persons were entered as Brahmas in the Census. 

30. The following is a brief summary of the beliefs of the 
Adi Samaj l : 

(1) God is a personal being with sublime moral attributes. 

(2) God has never become incarnate. 

(3) God hears and answers prayer. 

(4) God is to be worshipped only in spiritual ways. Hindu 
asceticism, temples, and fixed forms of worship are unnecessary. 
Men of all castes and races may worship God acceptably. 

(5) Repentance and cessation from sin is the only way to 
forgiveness and salvation. 

(6) Nature and Intuition are the sources of knowledge of 
God. No book is authoritative. 

1 ERE., II, 8 1 6. 


The following is the official statement of the principles of 

the Sadlmran Samaj 1 : 

(1) There is only one God, who is the Creator, Preserver 
and Saviour of this world. He is spirit ; He is infinite in power, 
wisdom, love, justice and holiness ; He is omnipresent, eternal 
and blissful. 

(2) The human soul is immortal, and capable of infinite 
progress, and is responsible to God for its doings. 

(3) God is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. Divine 
worship is necessary for attaining true felicity and salvation. 

(4) To love God and to carry out His will in all the concerns 
of life constitute true worship. 

(5) Prayer and dependence on God and a constant realisation 
of His presence are the means of attaining spiritual growth. 

(6) No created object is to be worshipped as God, nor is 
any person or book to be considered as infallible and as the sole 
means of salvation ; but truth is to be reverently accepted from 
all scriptures and from the teaching of all persons without dis 
tinction of creed or country. 

(7) The Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man 
and kindness to all living beings are the essence of true religion. 

(8) God rewards virtue, and punishes sin. His punishments 
are remedial and not eternal. 

(9) Cessation from sin accompanied by sincere repentance 
is the only atonement for it ; and union with God in wisdom, 
goodness and holiness is true salvation. 

The following statement of the faith and principles of the 
New Dispensation is from Keshab s Laws of Life: 2 

(1) God. I believe that God is one, that He is infinite and 
perfect, almighty, all-wise, all-merciful, all-holy, all-blissful, 
eternal and omnipresent, our Creator, Father, Mother, Friend, 
Guide, Judge and Saviour. 

(2) Soul. I believe that the soul is immortal and eternally 

1 From the Report for 1910. 

2 Published in the World and New Dispensation, of July 27, 1910. 


(3) Spiritual Law. I believe in natural inspiration, general 
and special. I believe in providence, general and special. 

(4) Moral Law. I believe in God s moral law as revealed 
through the commandments of conscience, enjoining perfect 
righteousness in all things. I believe that I am accountable 
to God for the faithful discharge of my manifold duties and 
that I shall be judged and rewarded and punished for my vir 
tues and vices here and hereafter. 

(5) Scriptures. I accept and revere the scriptures so far 
as they are records of the wisdom and devotion and piety of 
inspired geniuses and of the dealings of God s special providence 
in the salvation of nations, of which records only the Spirit is 
God s, but the letter man s. 

(6) Prophets. I accept and revere the world s prophets 
and saints so far as they embody and reflect the different ele 
ments of divine character, and set forth the higher ideals of 
life for the instruction and sanctification of the world. I ought 
to revere and love and follow all that is divine in them, and try 
to assimilate it to my soul, making what is theirs and God s 

(7) Church. I believe in the Church Universal which is 
the deposit of all ancient wisdom and the receptacle of all 
modern science, which recognises in all prophets and saints a 
harmony, in all scriptures a unity and through all dispensations 
a continuity, which abjures all that separates and divides and 
always magnifies unity and peace, which harmonises reason 
and faith, yoga and bkakti, asceticism and social duty in their 
highest forms, and which shall make of all nations and sects 
one kingdom and one family in the fulness of time. 

(8) Synopsis. My creed is the science of God which en- 
lighteneth all. My gospel is the love of God which saveth all. 
My heaven is life in God which is accessible to all. My church 
is that invisible kingdom of God in which is all truth, all love, 
all holiness. 

LITERATURE. HISTORY : History of the Brahmo Samaj, Siva- 
nath Sastri, Calcutta, Chatterji, 1911-1912, two vols. Rs. 6. The 
Theistic Directory, by V. R. Shinde, Bombay, Prarthana Samaj, 1912. 
THE ADI SAM j: Life and Letters of Raja Rammohun Roy, by 
Sophia Dobson Collet, Edited by Hem Chandra Sarkar, Cal- 


cutta, 1914, Rs. 2, as. 8. The English Works of Raja Ram Mohan 
Ray, Allahabad, Panini Office, 1906, Rs. 2, as. 8. The Complete 
Works of Raja Ram Mohan Ray, Sansk it and Bengali, Calcutta, 
1880. The Autobiography of Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, Trans 
lated by Satyendranath Tagore, Calcutta, Lahiri, 1909, Rs. 2 as. 
8. Brahma Dharma, by Devendranath Tagore, Calcutta, K. K. 
Life and Teachings of Keshab Chundra Sen, by Pratap Chandra Mo- 
zoomdar, Calcutta, Baptist Mission Press, 1887, out of print. 
Keshub Chunder Sen s Lectures in India, Calcutta, the Brahmo Tract 
Society, 1899. (Most of Keshab s writings, whether Bengali or 
English, can be got through the Brahmo Tract Society, Lily Cottage, 
Upper Circular Road, Calcutta.) Keshab Chandra Sen in England, 
Calcutta, 1 88 1. The Oriental Christ, by P. C. Mozoomdar, Cal 
cutta, Brahmo Tract Society, Rs. 3. Slokasahgraha, A Compila 
tion of Theistic Texts, Calcutta, K. P. Nath, 1904, Rs. i. THE 
SADHARAN SAMAJ : The Religion of the Brahmo Samaj, by Hem Chandra 
Sarkar, Calcutta, Kuntaline Press, 1911, as. 6. The Philosophy 
of Brahmaism, by Pandit S. N. Tattvabhushana, Madras, Higgin- 
botham, 1909, Rs. 2-8. 


i. We now turn our attention to Western India, the modern 
history of which begins in 1818 when, at the close of the last 
Maratha war, British authority became supreme in the great 
territory now known as the Bombay Presidency. The Hon. 
Mr. Mountstuart Elphinstone, who became Governor of 
Bombay in 1819, founded the very next year the Bombay 
Native Education Society, which did much to plant Western 
education in the city. When he retired in 1827, the leaders of 
the city, both Hindu and Parsee, in order to commemorate his 
work, raised a great fund which was used to found profes 
sorships, and became the nucleus of the Elrjlunstone^College, 
the Government College in Bombay. 

John Wilson of the Church of Scotland founded in 1835 the 
college which bears his name to-day. Wilson s work was on 
the same lines as Duff s ; and under his teaching a number of 


young men, both Hindu and Parsee, passed into the Christian 
Church. The whole of Western India was moved by the 
baptism of three Parsees in 1839,* and again by the baptism 
of a Brahman, Narayana Seshadri in 1843. Wilson s vital 
influence may also be traced in many men who remained in 
Hinduism and Zoroastrianism. In 1842 the London Society 
for the Promotion of Female Education sent out a lady mis 
sionary to work among the Parsee women in Bombay. 2 

2. Progressive movements among both Hindus and Parsees 
sprang from these educational and religious efforts. The 
earliest organization was a secret society called the Gugta 
Sa^m. The members were Hindus 3 and they met for worship 
and religious discussion, but nothing further is known of its 
work. It was succeeded in 1849 by the Pa/ranm^msa^qbha. 4 
It too was a secret society, but social reform held a rather 
more prominent place in its discussions than religious ques 
tions. After their discussion was over the members sang 
hymns from the Ratnamala and joined in a common meal, 
the food for which had been prepared by a low-caste cook. 
No one could become a member, unless he were willing to eat 
bread made by a Christian, and drink water brought by a 
Muhammadan. The influence of the society was necessarily 
rather limited, as everything was kept secret. Yet there 
were branches in Poona, Ahmadnagar and elsewhere. But 
in 1860 some one stole the books, and the whole thing was 
made public. There was great indignation against the mem 
bers ; and the society broke up. 

1 P. 84, below. 

2 Richter, 338 n. 

8 Amongst them were Moroba Vinoba and Baba Padmanji, who became a 
Christian at a later date. 

4 Amongst its members were N. M. Paramanand and B. Mangesh Wagle. 
It is interesting to note that a secret society was formed in Calcutta by 
Hindus "for instructing their young daughters and other female relatives." 
Richter, 337. 


The more earnest men, however, held by their convictions 
and watched with great interest the Brahma movement in 
Bengal. In 1864 Keshab paid his first visit to Bombay, and 
many were delighted with both the man and his message. 
But his visit came at an unfortunate moment ; Bombay was 
in a fever of excitement over share speculation; and no 
result followed. 

3. Three years later, however, in 1867, a theistic society 
was actually formed and called the Prarthana Samaj. Prayer 

**-*-s^\^-^^- -w .*> J 

Society, the leader being Dr. Atmaram Pandurang (1823- 
1898), who was a personal friend of Dr. Wilson and had been 
deeply influenced by him. Other members were Dadoba 
Pandurang, Bhaskara Pandurang (brothers of the leader), 
Ram Bal Krishna, N. M. Paramanand, Bhare Mahajan, W. 
B. Naorangi, V. A. Modak and B. M. Wagle. A weekly 
prayer-meeting was started, rules for the society were 
drawn up, and a managing committee appointed. The aims 
were theistic worship and social reform. Next year Keshab 

--*-*^^V^-0^\ - --OX*=*X-<=A-^~^^-^-*s. 

visited Bombay for a second time, and considerably strength 
ened the organization. In iSjjo the 
according to theisticjite^j^kplace ; and about the same 
timeRTur^Iiaridarkar (now Sir^R^G-^handar^ar) and M. 
G^Ranade (later Mr. Justice Ranade) joined the young Samaj. 
In 1872 PjQ^Mozoomdar came from Calcutta, and spent six 
months in Bombay, building up the congregation, and start 
ing night-schools for working people and the journal of the 
Samaj, the Subodh Patrika. In 1874 the Samaj erected its 
own building in Girgaum, Bombay. Pg^ditJD^ananda 
Sarasvati came to Bombay the same year, 1 and his lectures 
roused much interest, but his ideas about the Vedas pre 
vented the Prarthana Samaj from following him. The fol 
lowing year he founded the Arya Samaj in Bombay. A little 
later there was a proposal to change the name of the society 
1 P. 109, below. 






to the Bombay Brahma Samaj, but on account of the dissen 
sions in the Brahma Samaj in Calcutta the Bombay leaders 
were unwilling to identify themselves with it. In 1882 
S. P. Kelkar became a missionary of the Samaj ; and in the 
same year N. G. Chandavarkar, now Sir Narayan Ganesh 
Chandavarkar, began to take an active part in the work. 
Pandita Ramabai, who had not as yet become a Christian, did 
valuable work among the women of the Samaj in 1882-1883, 
and founded the Arva^JaMa^Sa^naj, or Ladies Society. 
During recent years a number of younger men, the chief of 
whom are K. Natarajan, S. N. Gokhale, V. R. Shinde, V. A. 
Sukhtankar, and N. G. VeUnkar, have joined, and have done 
valuable work in various ways. 

The Prarthana Samaj has never had such groups of mis 
sionaries as have toiled for the Brahma Samaj. They have 
usually had only one or two. For this reason the movement 
has not spread widely ; yet there are associated Samajes at 
Poona, Kirkee, Kolhapur and Satara. Several societies, 
originally connected with the Prarthana Samaj, now call 
themselves Brahma Samajes. On the other hand, the milder 
policy of the Prarthana Samaj has commended itself to many 
in the Telugu country and further south. Out of the twenty- 
nine Samajes in the Madras Presidency eighteen bear the 
name Prarthana Samaj. 

Nor has the Prarthana Samaj produced much literature, i 
This failure is, doubtless, largely due to the impression so com- , 
mon among its members that definite beliefs and theological ^ 
thought are scarcely necessary for a free theistic body. Of 
this serious weakness Ran^de wrote * : 

Many enthusiastic leaders of the Brahma Samaj movement 
have been heard deliberately to declare that the only cardinal 
points of Theism necessary to constitute it a religion of man 
kind, the only articles of its confession of faith, are the Father- 
1 Essays, 251-3. 


hood of God, andUieBroJ.her^ These are the only 

pomS*wich it isaSoIut^nc^Siiyto&old fast to for purposes 
of regeneration and salvation. And with fifty years of working 
history, our leaders seem content to lisp this same story of early 
childhood. There is no attempt at grasping in all earnestness 
the great religious difficulties which have puzzled people s 
faith during all time, and driven them to seek rest in revela 
tion. ... To come nearer home, our friends of the Prarthana 
Samaj seem to be perfectly satisfied with a creed which consists 
of only one positive belief in the unity of God, accompanied 
with a special protest against the existing corruption of Hindu 
religion, viz., the article which denounces the prevalent idolatry 
to be a sin, and an abomination ; and it is ardently hoped that 
a new Church can be built in course of time on such a narrow 
foundation of belief. ... It is time, we think, to venture on 
an earnest attempt to remove this reproach. 

His own Theisms Confession of Faith 1 is a brave attempt to 
give the thought of the Samaj something more of a theology. 
In February, 1913, Mr. N. G. Velinkar, one of the most capable 
thinkers in the Samaj, gave expression in conversation with the 
writer to his regret that there is so little definite teaching in 
the Samaj. A vigorous effort is being made at present by Mr. 
Velinkar and a few other leaders to produce theological and 
devotional books to enrich the life of the society. 

4. Speaking practically, the beliefs of the Samaj are the 
same as thoj^ejiejcl^^the^^ Brahnia_Samaj. They 

are theists, and opposed to idolatry. Their theism rests 
largely on ancient Hindu thought ; yet, practically, they have 
given up the inspiration of the Vedas and the doctrine of trans 
migration. The latter is left an open question, but few hold 
by it. The Samaj draws its nourishment very largely from 
the Hindu scriptures, and uses the hymns of the old Maratha 
poet-saints in its services. 

If theistic worship is the first interest of the Samaj, social 

1 Essays, p. 250. 


reform has always held the next place. Four reforms are 
sought, the abandonment of caste, thehUroductipnof 
widow^remarriage, thej^icouragement of female education, 
and the abolition of child-marriage. Yet some of the 
dimdenceofOi^ Tarairiahamsa Society still clings to the 
members. There has never been amongst them the rigid 
exclusion of idolatry, which has marked the Brahma Samaj , 
since Debendra Nath Tagore became leader, nor is the break- ) 
ing of caste made a condition of membership, as in the two 
younger Samajes of Calcutta. Even though a man be a full 
member of the Samaj, caste may be observed and idolatry} 
may be practised in his house. Miss S. D. Collet wrote in her / 
Brahma Year Book in 1880 : 

The Theistic Church in Western India occupies a position 
of its own. Although in thoroughly fraternal relations with 
the Eastern Samajes, it is of indigenous growth and of inde 
pendent standing. It has never detached itself so far from the 
Hindu element of Brahmaism as many of the Bengali Samajes, 
and both in religious observances and social customs, it clings 
far more closely to the old models. It is more learned and less 
emotional in its tone, and far more cautious and less radical 
in its policy than the chief Samajes of Bengal. But it is doing 
good work in its own way and it has enlarged its operations 
considerably within the last few years. 1 

A writer in the Indian Social Reformer 2 says : 

The Prarthana Samaj may be said to be composed of men 
paying allegiance to Hinduism and to Hindu society with a 
protest. The members observe the ceremonies of Hinduism, 
but only as mere ceremonies of routine, destitute of all reli 
gious significance. This much sacrifice they make to exist 
ing prejudices. Their principle, however, is not to deceive 
anyone as to their religious opinions, even should an honest 
expression of views entail unpopularity. 

1 I owe this quotation to Shinde, Theistic Directory, 33. 

2 Vol. XX, 317. 


The following is the official statement of the faith of the 
Samaj i 

Cardinal Principles of Faith 

(1) God is the creator of this universe. He is the only true 
God ; there is no other God beside him. He is eternal, spiritual, 
infinite, the store of all good, all joy, without parts, without 
form, one without a second, the ruler of all, all-pervading, 
omniscient, almighty, merciful, all-holy and the saviour of 

(2) His worship alone leads to happiness in this world and 
the next. 

(3) Love and reverence for him, an exclusive faith in him, 
praying and singing to him spiritually with these feelings 
and doing the things pleasing to him constitute His true wor 

(4) To worship and pray to images and other created ob 
jects is not a true mode of divine adoration. 

(5) God does not incarnate himself and there is no one 
book which has been directly revealed by God or is wholly 

(6) All men are His children ; therefore they should behave 
towards each other as brethren without distinction. This is 
pleasing to God and constitutes man s duty. 1 

5. The religious activities of the Samaj are the Sunday 
services, the Sunday School, the Young Theists Union (a 
sort of Endeavour Society) , the Anniversaries, the work of the 
missionaries, the Postal Mission, which sends religious litera 
ture by post, and the Subodh Patrika. 

There are eight night-schools for working-people financed 
and conducted by the Samaj ; there is a Free Reading Room 
and Library in the Samaj building ; and there is a Ladies 
Association for spreading instruction and culture among 
women and girls. The Students Brotherhood, a theistic 
replica of a Young Men s Christian Association, is loosely 

1 Prdrthand Samaj Report, 1911-1912. 


associated with the Samaj. In Pandharpur an Orphanage 
and Foundling Asylum supported by the Samaj has done 
good work for many years. 

But the greatest service which the Samaj has done to India 
has been the organization of the Social Reform Movement. 
Though not officially connected with the Samaj, nearly every 
vigorous effort made in favour of social reform during the last 
thirty years has been started, and largely carried on, by its 
members. The same is true of the Depressed Classes 
Mission. We deal with these great movements below. 1 

An All-India Theistic Conference is held annually which 
brings the Brahma and Prarthana Samajes together. 

LITERATURE. HISTORY: Vol. II, pp. 411-456 of History of the 
Brahmo Samaj, by Sivanath Sastri, Calcutta, Chatterji, 1911-1912, 
two vols. Rs. 6 ; and pp. 33-42 of The Theistic Directory, by V. R. 
Shinde, Bombay, Prarthana Samaj, 1912. TEACHING: Religious 
and Social Reform, by M. G. Ranade, Bombay, Claridge, 1902. The 
Speeches and Writings of Sir N. G. Chandavarkar , Bombay, Mano- 
ranjak Grantha Prasarak Mandali, 1911, Rs. 2 as. 8. 


i. One great branch of the Indo-European race lived long 
before the Christian era somewhere in Central Asia to the 
south of the Oxus River. This group finally broke in two, 
the eastern wing passing into India, and creating its civili 
zation, the western colonizing Iran, and producing the Zoro- 
astrian religion and the Persian Empire. On the rise of 
Islam, Arab armies marched both east and west, conquering 
every power that came in their way. The overthrow of 
Persia was complete. In their new zeal for their religion, 
the Muslim warriors offered the Persians the choice of Islam 
or the sword. Only a remnant of the people were able 
by escaping to the wilds of the North to retain both life 

1 P. 372 and Chapter VI. 


and religion. Even there, they were so much harassed 
that a great company of them left Persia altogether, and 
found their way into the province of Gujarat in Western 
India. There the Hindus allowed them to settle under very 
definite conditions. The exiles took root, and prospered. 
Bombay is now their greatest centre, but they are still found in 
Gujarat, and small groups reside in each of the great commer 
cial centres of the country. They call themselves Parsees, 
i.e. Persians ; and they number about one hundred 

They brought with them certain copies of their sacred books, 
but the disasters of their country had played terrible havoc 
with its sacred literature. The people ascribe their most 
serious losses to Alexander the Great ; but it is not known 
how far the destruction of the Avesta is due to him, or to later 
conquerors. In any case there has been most pitiable loss. 
Professor Moulton says : 

The faithful remnant who in the next century (i.e. after 
the Moslem conquest) took refuge on the hospitable shores of 
India, to find there a liberty of conscience which Mohammedan 
Persia denied them, brought with them only fragments of the 
literature that Sassanian piety had so laboriously gathered. 
Altogether, Prof. William Jackson calculates, about two-thirds 
of the Avesta have disappeared since the last Zoroastrian mon 
arch sat on the Persian throne. 1 

As the Hindus and the Parsees are sister-peoples, so the 
Zoroastrian religion and the Hindu faith have a good deal in 
common. The religious reform introduced by Zoroaster did 
for the Persians a larger and more fruitful service than that 
done for the Hindus by the Vedanta philosophy. But, though 
the monotheism and the ethics of Zoroaster had worked a 
greater revolution than the Vedanta produced, yet the 
religions still shewed their ancient kinship. Consequently, 

1 Early Religious Poetry of Persia, 14. 


when a small band of hunted fugitives, carrying with them the 
precious fragments of their national literature, settled in a 
Hindu environment, they found themselves in somewhat con 
genial company; and, despite their exclusiveness, their life 
and conceptions necessarily felt the influence of the powerful 
community in the midst of which they were settled. Child- 
marriage and the Zenana became universal among them. 
Polygamy was not uncommon. The men ate separately from 
the women. Many were ready to recognize Hindu festivals 
and worship. The Parsee priesthood became a hereditary 
caste. Religious, social and legal questions were settled, ac 
cording to Hindu custom, by a small body called thePanchayat. 

2. If we consult Parsee writers as to the state of the Parsees 
at the beginning of the nineteenth century, we shall be told 
that the community was living in great ignorance, that the 
ordinary Parsee received little education and did not under 
stand a word of his prayers or of the liturgy of Parsee worship, 
and that very few of the priests were scholarly. They knew 
the ritual and the liturgy, and were able to spell their way 
through certain books of the Avesta; but there seems to have 
been no thought-movement among them, and no vivid reali 
zation of the importance of the spiritual elements of their 
religion as compared with the ritual. The whole people 
tended to stand aloof from the other communities of India, 
making pride in their religion and race the reason for their 

In material things the Parsees were very prosperous. They 
held a great place in Indian commerce, and many families 
had risen to opulence. They were highly respected alike by 
Hindus and Muhammadans. 

3. We have seen above 1 that Western education was intro 
duced into the Bombay Presidency in 1820, and that in 1827 
money was raised which finally created the Elphinstone Col- 

1 P. 74, above. 


lege. In 1835 John Wilson began Christian College education 
in Bombay ; in 1839 three Parsees were baptized ; and in 
1843 Wilson s work on the Parsee religion appeared. In a 
letter to me Mr. R. P. Karkaria writes : 

This work, which mercilessly exposed the weak points of the 
popular system believed in by the laity and the clergy in their 
ignorance, was really epoch-making, not only for its scholar 
ship it was the first European book based on a first-hand 
knowledge of Parsi sacred language and books but for the 
effect it has had on our religion itself, which it helped materially 
to purify. It put Parsis on their mettle. Numerous were 
the criticisms and replies, mostly ignorant and some down 
right stupid. In a few years sensible Parsis set to work to put 
their house in order, so to say. 

In 1849 they started schools for the boys and girls of the 
community, so that no child should have to go without educa 
tion. As the Panchayat had lost all power over the commu 
nity, and reform was seriously needed, a group of influential 
and wealthy Parsees and a number of young men fresh from 
Elphinstone College formed, in 1851, the Rahnumai Mazday- 
asnan Sabhd, or Religious Reform Association, which had for 
its object " the regeneration of the social condition of the Par- 
sees and the restoration of the Zoroastrian religion to its pris 
tine purity." The more notable men in this group were Dad- 
l abhai Naoroji, J. B. Wacha, S. S. Bangali and Naoroji Fur- 
j donji. They established at the same time the Rast Goftar, 
or Truth-teller, a weekly journal, which proved a powerful 
instrument in their hands. By lectures, meetings and litera 
ture they stirred the community to its depths with their pro 
posals of reform. At first they encountered a great deal of 
opposition from the orthodox. 1 But they persevered, and at 
last achieved considerable success : 

These early reformers were very cautious, discreet, sagacious 
and tactful in their movement. They rallied round them 
1 See below, p. 343. 


as many Parsi leading priests of the day as they could and 
submitted to them in a well-formulated form specific questions 
under specific heads, asking their opinion if such and such 
practice, dogma, creed, ceremony, etc., were in strict con 
formity with the teachings of the religion of Zoroaster, or con 
travened those teachings. Fortified by these opinions, the re 
formers carried on their propaganda in the way of lectures, 
public meetings, pamphlets and articles in the Rast Go/tar. 
One cannot rise from the perusal of these articles without being 
thoroughly impressed with a sense of candour, thorough in 
dependence and an unmixed desire to extricate their co-reli 
gionists from the thraldom of all those practices, rituals and 
creed for which there was no warrant within the four corners 
of the authentic Zoroastrian scriptures. 1 

In 1858 a group of educated Parsees started a movement for 
helping their brethren, the remnant of the old Zoroastrians 
of Persia, now known as the Gabars, 2 who were very 
seriously oppressed by the Shah s government. After twenty- 
four years of agitation, they were released, in 1882, from the 
poll-tax, jfeya, which weighed heavily upon them. The 
Parsees have also assisted them financially. 

A little later a new element was introduced. A young man 
belonging to one of the great commercial families, Kharshedji 
Rustamji Camaf.went to Europe on business ; and, before he 
returned to Bombay in 1859, proceeded to the Continent, 
where he studied the Avesta in the original under the greatest 
Avestan scholars of Europe. 4 What he did in Bombay from 
1 86 1 onwards had better be told in the words of one of my 
correspondents : 5 

On his return he began teaching to a few disciples the Avesta, 
the Parsi scriptures, by the Western methods comparative 

1 ISR., XXII, 113. 

2 See art. Gabars in ERE. 

8 See his portrait, Plate IV, facing page 76. * 

4 For the rise of Avestan scholarship, see p. 8 n. above. 

Professor P. A. Wadia. 


study of the Iranian languages and grammar. The most famous 
of his disciples were Sheriarji Bharucha, who is still alive, 
Temurasp Anklesaria, a most distinguished scholar of Pahlavi, 
who died about ten years ago, and Kavasji Kanga. He also 
helped largely in the foundation of two Madressas, or institu 
tions devoted to the study of the Iranian languages and scrip 

His main purpose was to create a new type of Parsee priests 
who, by their education and character, might be able to lead 
the community, and also by study to realize what the real 
teaching of Zoroaster was, and so be able to show authority 
for casting off the many superstitious accretions which the 
religion had gathered in the course of the centuries. 

Meantime, through the encouragement of the reformers, 
English education had laid hold of the Parsee community. 
They built schools for themselves. The education of girls 
made great progress. A certain amount of religious instruc 
tion was given in the schools. The age of marriage was 
gradually raised; and, within a comparatively short space 
of time, Parsee women achieved their emancipation. They 
began to move about freely in the open air, both on foot 
and in carriages, while in former years, if they went out at all, 
the blinds of the carriage were always closely drawn. English 
dress came more and more into use ; the European mode of 
dining at table was accepted ; and men and women began to 
eat together : 

The Parsi mode of life may be described to be an eclectic 
ensemble, half-European and half-Hindu. As they advance 
every year in civilization and enlightenment, they copy more 
closely English manners and modes of living. 1 

Many hold that Western influence has gone too far. Thus, 
Mr. R. P. Karkaria, writing of Government education, says : 

1 Karaka I, 123. 


It helped the reformers, but went much farther than they 
intended, and has bred up a generation which is too reformed, 
a generation which is not quite strictly Parsee or Christian or 
anything in religion. 

This has helped the conservative movement dealt with below. 1 

4. Mr. B. M. Malabari, a Parsee government servant, who 
later became a journalist, exercised a very wide and powerful 
influence in the cause of women and children in India. His 
pamphlet on Infant Marriage and Enforced Widowhood? 
published in 1887, stirred public opinion to the depths. In 
his journal, The Indian Spectator, he continued the struggle 
for more humane treatment for the women and children of 
India. When in England in 1890, he published, in pamphlet 
form, an Appeal on behalf of the daughters of India, which power 
fully moved English feeling. Finally, in 1908, in conjunction 
with his biographer, Mr. Dayaram Gidumal, he founded the 
Seva Sadan. 3 

5. The culture and wide business relations of theParsees 
have brought them into very close relations with Europeans, 
and there have been several intermarriages. One wealthy 
Parsee married a French lady. She declared herself a Zoroas- 
trian by faith ; and, wishing to be a true wife in all things to 
her husband, sought admission to the Parsee community, that 
she might share his religious life with him to the full. The 
advanced party wished to agree to the proposal ; but necessa 
rily opposition arose ; for the Parsees have not admitted (ex 
cept stealthily) any foreigner to their ranks for centuries; 
and the priests refused her admission. 4 For, though reform 
has done much for the Parsee community in general, the 
priests have lagged pitiably behind. Very few of them are 
men of education ; and, even if they know their own Scrip 
tures, they have no knowledge of the West, and are therefore 
quite unfit to lead the community to-day. In consequence, 

1 P. 343. 2 Below, pp. 389 and 396. 3 P. 380, below. 

4 A great lawsuit followed, but it did not result in a clear decision. 


a new demand has arisen for educated priests. Parsees con 
trast their priests with the missionaries they see around them. 
A valued correspondent writes : 

There is an increasing demand for educated priests, capa 
ble of satisfying the spiritual needs of an educated community, 
which is no longer content with accepting everything on author 
ity. Amongst us hitherto the priests have been illiterate, 
ignorant, and therefore unfit for the new demands created by 
the times. They have to depend not upon fixed salaries or 
endowments but upon fees and payments received for reciting 
prayers and performing ceremonies. There is an increasing 
demand for priests who by preaching and example can set up 
an ideal for the faithful to follow. Hitherto we have had little 
of preaching or sermonizing, or even of philosophical exposition 
of tenets. 1 

The most advanced party are also convinced that there is 
still much required in the way of religious and social reform. 
But a number of the leading men of the community have 
come to believe that the Parsees are losing their primacy in 
India, that they no longer control commerce to the extent 
they used to do, and that physical degeneration has set in 
amongst them. Strangely enough, one of the boldest and most 
cultured of modern Parsees, the Hon. Justice Sir Dinshaw 
Davar, puts down this supposed degeneracy to modern educa 
tion. Others have, however, no difficulty in answering him. 
It is clear that it is city life, sedentary occupations and the 
want of regular exercise which is producing the phenomena 
referred to. 

(6. A Parsee priest named Dhala went to America and 
studied in the University of Columbia under Professor Jack- 
; son, the famous Zoroastrian scholar. He returned to India 
in 1909, and, in order to focus the reform movement, pro 
posed a Zoroastrian Conference. The following quotation 
gives the main facts: 

1 Professor Wadia. 


A couple of years ago, Dr. Dhala, a young energetic Parsi 
divine, fresh from his long and arduous studies of the Parsi 
Religion at the University of Columbia, as elucidated by scholars 
and savants of English, European and American reputation, 
whose labours and researches in the field of Avesta literature 
have thrown a flood of light on the philosophical teachings and 
speculations of our revered prophet, conceived the idea of having 
a Conference on some such lines as the Indian Social Confer 
ence held every year by our sister community, the Hindus. 
The raison d etre of the Conference was to inaugurate a liberal 
movement for the purpose of restoring Zoroastrian religion 
to its pristine sublimity and simplicity, in other words, to weed 
out all practices, beliefs, creeds, rituals, ceremonies and dogmas 
that have clustered round the true original religion, and to in 
struct and guide the community accordingly. 1 

The Conference was held in April, 1910, and a variety of 
questions, religious, social and educational were discussed. 
The need of an educated priesthood, and the need of serious 
moral and religious education in schools, were strongly 
emphasized. But the conservatives 2 opposed, and violent 
scenes interrupted the proceedings, the result being that the 
gathering which had been created by the reformers for the 
sake of securing a great advance became rather a rallying 
centre for the conservative party. The Second Conference, 
held in 1911, also suffered seriously from the same causes. 

The third and fourth Conferences, held in 1912 and 1913, 
were largely attended and very successful, and were not marred 
by violent opposition. The membership has grown to 500. 
The Conference is pressing forward the following schemes for 
the betterment of the community : 

i. Lectures. Dr. Dhala and Mr. D. H. Madan, advocate 
of the Bombay High Court, and several others, have delivered 
lectures on Zoroastrianism in the vernacular to very large au 
diences in Bombay and throughout Gujarat. 

1 ISR., XXII, 113. 2 P. 345, below. 


2. Revision of the Calendar. 

3. Education of Parsee priests. Money is available for this 
project, but the scheme is not yet ripe. 

4. Industrial and Technical Education. A sub-committee 
has been appointed for this purpose. 

5. Medical Inspection of School Children. The special 
Committee on this subject has 35 doctors to carry out the work. 

6. Charity Organization. A scheme was proposed by Pro 
fessor Henderson of Chicago but it is still in embryo. 

7. Dairy Scheme. A limited liability company is being 
organized to supply sterilized milk, first to Parsee children, 
then to others. 

8. Agricultural Scheme. A proposal has been made to pur 
chase land for a new organization to conduct farming. 

The leaders of the progressive party are Dr. Dhala, Sir P. 
M. Mehta, Sir Dinshaw Petit, the three Tatas, Mr. H. A. 
Wadia and Dr. Katrak. The paper that represents their 
position is The Parsee. 

The rise and growing influence of the propaganda of the 
Theosophic party 1 led in 1911 to the organization within the 
reforming party of a society to resist and expose it. It is 
called The Iranian Association. The following are the ob 
jects the members have in view : 

1. To maintain the purity of the Zoroastrian religion and 
remove the excrescences that have gathered around it. 

2. To expose and counteract the effects of such teachings 
of Theosophists and others as tend : 

(a) to corrupt the religion of Zarathushtra by adding ele 
ments foreign to it, and 

(b) to bring about the degeneration of a progressive and 
virile community like the Parsis, and make them a body of 
superstitious and unpractical visionaries. 

3. To promote measures for the welfare and advancement 
of the community. 

1 P. 344, below. 


Since March, 1912, the Association has published the Journal 
of the Iranian Association, a small monthly, partly in English, 
partly in Gujarat!. 

LITERATURE. History of the Par sis, by Dosabhai Framji Karaka, 
London, Macmillan, 1884, 2 vols., 365. The Pdrsl Religion, by 
John Wilson, D.D., Bombay, American Mission Press, 1843, out 
of print. The K, R. Cama Memorial Volume, by Jivanji Jamshedji 
Modi, Bombay, Fort Printing Press, 1900. Dadabhai Naoroji, 
A Sketch of his Life and Life Work, Madras, Natesan, as. 4. B. 
M. Malabari, a Biographical Sketch, by Dayaram Gidumal, with Intro 
duction by Florence Nightingale, London, Fisher Unwin, 1892. In 
fant Marriage and Enforced Widowhood in India, by B. M. Malabari, 
Bombay, Voice of India Press, 1887. 


i. By the opening of the nineteenth century the collapse 
of the Muhammadan empire in India was complete, although 
the name and the shadow continued to exist in Delhi for half 
a century longer. Necessarily, the fall of this mighty empire, 
which had wielded so much power and controlled so much 
wealth, produced the direst effects upon the Muhammadans 
of North India. True, the Empire collapsed through inner 
decay, so that serious evils were there before the fall ; yet 
the actual transference of the power and the prestige produced 
widespread degradation. The whole community sank with 
the empire. Necessarily, there was very bitter feeling against 
the European who had so unceremoniously helped himself to 
the empire of their fathers. The old education and culture 
rapidly declined; and for many decades Muhammadans 
failed to take advantage of the new education planted by the 
conqueror. The consequence was that, throughout North 
India, the relative positions of the Hindu and Muhammadan 
communities steadily changed, the former rising in knowledge, 
wealth and position, the latter declining. 


2. Syed Ahmad Khan came of an ancient noble family 
which had long been connected with Government. After 
receiving a Muhammadan education, he had found a position 
under the British administration. In these and other particu 
lars of his life and experience he was very like Ram Mohan 
Ray, only he came about forty years later, and was connected 
not with Calcutta but Delhi. While he was still young, he 
began to see how matters stood. During the Mutiny his 
loyalty never wavered, and he was instrumental in saving 
many Europeans. As soon as peace returned, he wrote a pam 
phlet, called The Causes of the Indian Mutiny, but, unfortu 
nately, it was not published until five years later. That piece 
of work showed most clearly what a shrewd, capable man the 
writer was, and how invaluable he might be as an intermediary 
between the Government and the Muhammadan community. 

But the Mutiny opened Syed Ahmad s eyes also. It showed 
him, as by a flash of lightning, the frightful danger in which his 
community stood. He had early grasped the real value of 
British rule in India, and had thereby been led to believe that 
it would prove stable in spite of any such storm as the Mutiny. 
He now saw clearly that the Muhammadans of India must 
absorb the science and the education of the West, and must 
also introduce large social reform amongst themselves, or else 
fall into complete helplessness and ruin. He therefore at 
once set about making plans for persuading his brethren of 
the truth of his ideas. He talked incessantly to his personal 
friends, published pamphlets and books, and formed an asso 
ciation for the study of Western science. He frankly said, 
"All the religious learning in Muhammadan libraries is of 
no avail." He established English schools, and struggled in 
every possible way to convince his community of the wisdom 
of learning English and absorbing the culture of the West. 
But he saw as clearly that Englishmen also required to learn. 
It was most necessary that they should know Indian opinion 


and sympathize with Indian aspirations. Hence in 1866 the 
British-Indian Association was founded, in order to focus 
Indian opinion on political questions, yet in utmost loyalty to 
the British Government, and to represent Indian ideas in Par 
liament. Then, in order to further his plans, both educational 
and political, he visited England with his son in 1869, and; 
spent seventeen months there, studying English life and poli 
tics but giving the major part of his time and attention to 

When, he returned to India, he began the publication of a 
monthly periodical in Urdu, the Tahzibu l Akhlaq or Reform 
of Morals. It dealt with religious, social and educational 
subjects in a courageous spirit. He combated prejudice 
against Western science, advocated greater social freedom, and 
sought to rouse the Muhammadan community to self-con 
fidence and vigorous effort. He urged that there was no reli 
gious reason why Muslims should not dine with Europeans, 
provided there was no forbidden food on the table, and boldly 
put his teaching into practice, living in European style, re 
ceiving Englishmen as his guests and accepting their hos 
pitality in return. In consequence, he was excommunicated, 
slandered and persecuted. He was called atheist, renegade, 
antichrist. Men threatened to kill him. But he held bravely 

3. The climax of his educational efforts was the creation of 
the Anglp-Muhammadan College at Aligarh. He conceived 
the institution, roused public opinion in its favour and gathered 
the funds for its buildings and its endowment. His idea was 
to create an institution which should do for young Muslims 
what Oxford and Cambridge were doing for Englishmen. He 
believed that a good education on Western lines, supported 
by wise religious teaching from the Koran, would produce 
young Muhammadans of capacity and character. Aligarh is 
thus the first college founded by an Indian that follows the 


missionary idea, that education must rest on religion. The 
founder did his best to reproduce in India what he had seen 
in Oxford and Cambridge. The students reside in the Col 
lege ; there are resident tutors who are expected to develop 
character as well as intellect ; athletics are prominent ; and 
religion is an integral part of the work of the College. The 
Principal and several members of the staff are always Euro 
peans. The prospectus states that the College was founded 
with the following objects: 

1. To establish a College in which Musalmans may acquire 
an English education without prejudice to their religion. 

2. To organize a Boarding-House to which a parent may send 
his son in the confidence that the boy s conduct will be care 
fully supervised, and in which he will be kept free from the 
temptations which beset a youth in big towns. 

3. To give as complete an education as possible, which, 
while developing intellect, will provide physical training, foster 
good manners, and improve the moral character. 

The following sentences from the Prospectus show how reli 
gious instruction is given : 

A Maulvi of well-known learning and piety has been specially ; 
appointed to supervise the religious life of the students and" 
conduct the prayers in the College Mosque. 

Religious instruction is given to Musalman students, to 
Sunnis by a Sunni, and to Shias by a Shia ; the books of The 
ology taught are prescribed by committees of orthodox Sunnis 
and Shias, respectively. 

The first period of each day s work is devoted to the lectures 
on Theology, and attendance at these lectures is enforced by 
regulations as stringent as those regulating the ordinary class 
work of the College. 

Attendance at prayers in the College Mosque is also com 
pulsory, and students who are irregular are severely punished. 
Students are expected to fast during the month of Ramzan. 

On Friday, the College is closed at eleven so as to allow the 


students to attend at Juma prayers, after which a sermon is 
delivered by the Resident Maulvi. 

All Islamic festivals are observed as holidays in the College. 

The College has proved truly successful. It has given the 
Muhammadan community new courage and confidence. A 
striking succession of English University men have occupied 
the position of Principal, and have succeeded in producing 
something of the spirit and tone of English public school and 
University life among the students. A steady stream of young 
men of education and character passes from the College into 
the service of Government and the professions. It has con 
vinced thoughtful Muhammadans of the wisdom of accepting 
Western education. It has proved a source of enlightenment 
and progressive thought. But, it must be confessed, the reli 
gious influence of the College does not seem to be at all promi 
nent or pervasive. 

In 1886 interest in modern education had made so much 
progress that Syed Ahmad Khan was able to start the Muham 
madan Educational Conference, which meets annually, now 
in one centre and now in another. It has done a great deal 
to rouse Muhammadans to their own backwardness and piti 
able need. In recent years a Conference pfMuslim ladies has 
met alongside the main Conference to deal with female Edu 
cation. 1 

4- With the Syed also began the permeation of the Muham 
madan community in India with modern ideas in religion. 

After the death of Muhammad, Muslim teachers gathered 
all the traditions about him, and sought to form a systematic 
body of doctrine and of law for believers. Orthodoxy gradu 
ally took shape. The doctrine of the divine will and the 
divine decrees was stated in such a form as to make human 
freedom almost an impossibility. The Koran was declared to 
be the eternal and uncreated Word of God. Crude concep- 
1 ISR., XXII, 247. 


tions of God and His attributes became crystallized in Muslim 
doctrine. Rules for family and social life were fixed in rigid 


But as conquest brought vast territories of both the East 
and the West under Islamic rule, the conquerors came into 
close touch with Greek and Christian civilization. At Bag 
dad, especially, the science and philosophy of Greece were 
carefully cultivated. Christian monks taught and translated. 
From this living intercourse there arose, in the eighth century 
A.D., a great movement of Muhammadan thought. Learned 
teachers began to defend the freedom of the will, to speculate 
on the nature of the Godhead, and to discuss the Koran. A 
new school, the Mu tazilites, arose, characterized by freedom 
of thought, great confidence in reason, and a keen sense of 
the importance of the moral issues of life. They held the free 
dom of the human will, pronounced against the doctrine of 
the resurrection of the body, and declared that the Koran was 
created in time, and that there was a human element in it 
alongside the divine. They were opposed to polygamy. But 
this enlightened school was soon pronounced heretical, and 
passed out of existence. 

It is most interesting to note that Western thought pro 
duced almost identical results in India in the nineteenth cen 
tury. Early in life Syed Ahmad Khan openly abandoned the 
charge, which is so often made by orthodox Muhammadans, 
that Christians have seriously corrupted the text of the Old 
^and New Testaments. He urged his fellow-believers that 
they should not consider Christians as Kafirs and enemies, 
and declared that the Bible and the Koran, when rightly 
understood, did not contradict one another. Readers will 
note how closely his position approximates to the teaching 
of Ram Mohan Ray. The resemblance in many respects is 
very striking : the Hindu leader published The Precepts of 
Jesus: the Muhammadan reformer published a fragment of a 


Commentary on Genesis, which has been of real service in 
opening Muhammadan minds. He held that in the Koranj J 
as in the Bible, we must acknowledge the presence of a human 
element as well as a divine. The rest of his religious concep 
tions have been outlined by a trustworthy scholar as follows : 

But his thought (system we cannot call it) is more influenced 
by the conceptions of conscience and nature. Conscience, 
he says, is the condition of man s character which results from 
training and reflection. It may rightly be called his true guide 
and his real prophet. Still, it is liable to mutability, and needs 
to be corrected from time to time by historic prophets. Toi 
test a prophet we must compare the principles of his teaching j 
with the laws of nature. If it agrees with these we are to accept 
it, and he quotes with approval the remark of a French writer, 
that Islam, which lays no claim to miraculous powers on the 
part of the founder, is the truly rationalistic religion. Muham 
mad, he claims, set forth the Divine unity with the greatest 
possible clearness and simplicity : first, Unity of Essence, which "; 
he promulgated afresh; second, Unity of Attributes, which 
the Christians had wrongly hypostatized in their doctrine of 
the Trinity ; third, Unity of Worship in the universal and uni 
form rendering of that devotion which is due to God alone, 
thus securing the doctrine of the Unity against all practical 
encroachments through corrupt observances. 1 

He made much of reason. One of his phrases was, Reason 
alone is a sufficient guide. He spoke and wrote in favour 
of Natural Religion. Hence his followers are called Naturis. 
The word has been corrupted into Necharis, and occurs in 
this form in Census Reports and elsewhere. The Syed won 
the confidence of Government, became a member of the 
Viceroy s Legislative Council, and was knighted. 

His principles have been accepted and carried farther by 
several writers, notably Moulvie Chiragh Ali and The Right 

1 Weitbrecht, Indian Islam and Modern Thought, 5 (Church Congress, 


Hon. Syed Amir All. Their work is almost entirely apologetic. 
They have a double aim in view, first, to defend Islam from 
Christian criticism and the corroding influences of Western 
thought in general, and, secondly, to prove that the religious, 
social, moral and political reforms, which, through Christian 
teaching, modem thought and the pressure of the times, are 
being inevitably forced on Muhammadan society, are in full 
consonance with Islam. As the practice of Muhammad him 
self, Muhammadan Law and orthodox teaching are all unques 
tionably opposed to these things, the line of argument taken is 
that the spirit l of Islam is all in their favour, and that every 
thing else is to be regarded as of the nature of concessions to 
human frailty. This theory is elaborately worked out in 
gyedAmk. AU s Spirit of Islam. There we are told that the 
Koran in reality discourages slavery, religious war, polygamy 
and the seclusion of women. Of this writer a competent 
scholar 2 says : 

The Syed is at the stage of explaining things away, and it is 
fair to say that he does it at the expense of much hardly ingenu 
ous ingenuity and a good deal of suppressio veri. 

But the very hopelessness of these positions from the critical 
point of view may be to us the measure of the forces that are 
driving the writers to plead for the reforms and to find justi 
fication for them. Syed Amir AH definitely identifies himself 
\ with the Mu tazilite school, both in their theology and their 
i social ideas, and believes that large numbers of Indian Mu- 
hammadans are with him in his opinions. 

As to the results of the movement the following statement 
may suffice : 

The energies of the reform movement at present find their 
vent in the promotion of education and of social reforms. 

1 Cf. p. 334, below. 2 D. B. Macdonald in IRM., April 1913, p. 377- 


The Aligarh College, under a series of capable English prin 
cipals and professors, is training up a new generation of Muham- 
madan gentlemen in an atmosphere of manly culture and good 
breeding, with high ethical ideals. The yearly meeting of 
the Educational Conference both works practically for the ad 
vancement of enlightenment among Indian Muhammadans 
and also affords an opportunity for exchange of thought and 
propagation of reforming ideas. Thus some years ago a lead 
ing Muhammadan gentleman known as the Agha Khan, when 
presiding over the Conference at Madras, trenchantly impressed 
upon his hearers that the progress of the community was chiefly 
hindered by three evils : by the seclusion and non-education of 
women, by theoretical and practical fatalism, ancf by religious 
formalism; an enlightened self-criticism which commands 
sympathy and admiration. The questions of polygamy and 
female seclusion are being actively debated in the press and other 
wise, and some leading Muhammadan gentry have broken 
the ordinance of the veil and appear in public with their wives 
and daughters in European dress. 

As far as regards theological thought, competent Indian 
observers are of opinion that the rationalism of Sir Syed Ahmad 
is not at present being developed; but that there is rather a 
relapse towards a passive acceptance of Muslim orthodoxy. 1 
Still, there is no doubt that the movement has tended to in 
crease openness and fairness of mind among the educated classes. 2 

A few educated Indian Muhammadans during recent years 
have reached a more advanced position. Mr. S. Khuda 
Bukhsh, M.A., one of the Professors of the Presidency College, 
Calcutta, has published a volume entitled, Essays, Indian and 
Islamic, which the present writer has not seen, but which is 
characterized as follows by one of our best scholars : 

He has read his Goldziher and accepts his positions. He 
knows what a monogamous marriage means and confesses 
frankly the gulf between it and marriage in Islam; and he 
does not try to prove that Islam does not sanction polygamy. 

1 P. 347, below. 2 Weitbrecht, p. 7. 


With similar candour he views the other broad differences of 
East and West. How, then, is he a Moslem ? He would go 
back to the Koran and Mohammed and would sweep away all 
the labours of the schoolman by which these have been over 
laid. Above all he is fascinated by the music and magic of 
the Koran. That book and a broad feeling of loyalty to the 
traditions of his ancestors are evidently the forces which hold 
him. 1 

It is probably true, as the Right Hon. Syed Amir All said 
to me, that there are very few indeed who are ready to 
follow Mr. Bukhsh. For the modern conservative move 
ment among Muslims see p. 347. 

LITERATURE. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, by General Graham, Lon 
don, Hodder, 1909. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Madras, Natesan, 
as. 4. The Spirit of Islam, by Syed Amir AH, Calcutta, Lahiri 
and Co., 1890. Essays, Indian and Islamic, by Khuda Bukhsh, 
London, Probsthain, 1912, js. 6d. net. 

1 D. B. Macdonald, IRM., April, 1913, p. 378. 




WE have seen in the historical outline that about 1870 a 
great change began to make itself manifest in the Hindu spirit. 
The educated Indian suddenly grew up, and shewed that he 
had a mind of his own. Religiously, the change manifested 
itself in a disposition to proclaim Hinduism one of the greatest 
religions. The same temper appeared among Buddhists, 
Jains, Muslims and Parsees ; but the movement shewed itself, 
first of all, among Hindus. It also took many forms. We 
propose to divide the many movements and organizations 
incarnating this spirit into two groups, according as they 
defend only a part or the whole of the ancient faith. This 
chapter will deal with those that defend only a part. Every 
movement in this group opposes Hindu idolatry ; but several 
of them worship their gurus, a practice which leads to idolatry. 
The attitude to caste in all cases is very ambiguous. 


i . This powerful body, which during the last twenty years 
has expanded rapidly in the Panjab and the United Provinces, 
is so completely the creation of its founder that a brief sketch 
of his life is the indispensable introduction to a study of the 

For the first thirty-three years of his life we have a very 
clear and informing witness, a fragment of an autobiography, 
dictated by him, and published in the Theosophist, in October 


and December, 1879, and November, iSSo. 1 This sketch 
seems to be on the whole trustworthy. It certainly enables 
us to trace in some degree the growth of his mind during the 
period which it covers. 

In the small town of Tankara, 2 belonging to the native state 
of Morvi, Kajhiawar, Western India, there lived early last 
century^ wealthy Brahman, named Amba Sankara. He held 
the position of Jamadar of the town, which his fathers had 
held before him, and was a banker besides. He was a devout 
ffiri^u, an ardent and fajthfulj^o^sjn^ To this 

man was born, in 1824, a son, whom he named Mula Sankara. 
The father was above all things anxious that the boy should 
prove a religious man and should accept his father s religion. 
Accordingly he was careful to give him a Hindu education. 
By the time he was fourteen the boy had learnt by heart 
large pieces of the Vedas and had made some progress in 
Sanskrit grammar. 

At this time the first crisis in his life occurred. As the 
incident is one of the most vivid episodes in the Autobi 
ography* we give it in his own words : 

When the great day of gloom and fasting called Sivaratrl 
had arrived, this day falling on the isth of Vadya of Magh, 
my father, regardless of the protest that my strength might fail, 
commanded me to fast, adding that I had to be initiated on 
that night into the sacred legend, and participate in that night s 
long vigil in the temple of Siva. Accordingly, I followed him 
along with other young men, who accompanied their parents. 
This vigil is divided into four parts, called praharas, consisting 
of three hours each. Having completed my task, namely, 
having sat up for the first two praharas till the hour of mid- 

1 Republished as an introduction to the English translation of the 
Satyarth Prakash, by Durga Prasad. 

2 For the name of the town I am indebted to Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson of 
Rajkot, and also for the names of the father and the son. 

3 Pp. 2-3. 


night, I remarked that the Pujaris, or temple servants, and some 
of the lay devotees, after having left the inner temple, had 
fallen asleep outside. Having been taught for years that by 
sleeping on that particular night, the worshipper lost all the 
good effect of his devotion, I tried to refrain from drowsiness 
by bathing my eyes now and then with cold water. But my 
father was less fortunate. Unable to resist fatigue, he was 
the first to fall asleep, leaving me to watch alone. 

Thoughts upon thoughts crowded upon me, and one ques 
tion arose after the other in my disturbed mind. Is it possible, ( 
I asked myself. that this semblance of man, the idol of a 
personal God that I see bestriding his bull before me, and who,) 
according to all religious accounts, walks about, eats, sleeps 
and drinks ; who can hold a trident in his hand, beat upon his i 
damaru drum, and pronounce curses upon men, is it pos- f 
sible that he can be the Mahadeva, the Great Deity, the same v 
that is invoked as the Lord of Kailash, the Supreme Being and J 
the Divine hero of all the stories we read of him in his Pu-, 
ranas ? Unable to resist such thoughts any longer, I awoke my 
father, abruptly asking him to enlighten me, to tell me whether 
this hideous emblem of Siva in the temple was identical with the 
Mahadeva, of the scriptures, or something else. "Why do 
you ask it?" said my father. "Because," I answered, "I feel/ 
it impossible to reconcile the idea of an omnipotent, living God,/ 
with this idol, which allows the mice to run upon its body, and j 
thus suffers its image to be polluted without the slightest pro 
test." Then my father tried to explain to me that this stone 
representation of the Mahadeva of Kailash, having been con 
secrated with the Veda mantras (verses) in the most solemn 
way by the holy Brahmins, became, in consequence, the God 
himself, and is worshipped as such, adding that, as Siva cannot 
be perceived personally in this Kali-Yuga the age of mental 
darkness, we hence have the idol in which the Mahadeva 
of Kailash is worshipped by his votaries ; this kind of worship 
is pleasing to the great Deity as much as if, instead of the em 
blem, he were there himself. But the explanation fell short of > 
satisfying me. I could not, young as I was, help suspecting j 
misinterpretation and sophistry in all this. Feeling faint < 
with hunger and fatigue, I begged to be allowed to go home. * 


My father consented to it, and sent me away with a Sepoy, 
only reiterating once more his command that I should not eat. 
But when, once home, I had told my mother of my hunger, she 
fed me with sweetmeats, and I fell into a profound sleep. 

Every one will feel the beat of conviction in this fine pas 
sage ; and the results of it are visible in the cnis^ej)|_gie 
Arxa^maj^a^ajnst idolatry to this day. But every one who 
knows India will also agree that what happened is scarcely 
comprehensible in a Hindu boy of fourteen years of age, unless 
he had already heard idolatry condemned. Brooding over the 
problem, I wrote to my friend, Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson of 
Rajkot, Kathiawar, and asked whether Sthanakavasi influence 
could be traced in or about the boy s birth-place at that time. 
The Sthanakavasis are a group of Jains who gave up idolatry 
and broke away from the main Svetambara sect in the fifteenth 
century. 1 Mrs. Stevenson writes : 

Tahkara is fourteen miles south of Morvi, and about twenty- 
three miles north of Rajkot. In the thirties, the father of 
the present Thakur Saheb of Morvi was ruling. He was very 
devoted to a certain Sthanakavasi monk, and the Prime Minis 
ter also was a Sthanakavasi; so that the sect was then very 
powerful and influential in the Morvi state. All monks and 
nuns, travelling from the town of Morvi to Rajkot (another 
Sthanakavasi stronghold), passed through Tankara, where 
Amba Sankara and his son lived. 

This clearly gives the environment which prepared the boy 
for his experience in the temple. 

Four years later the sudden death of a sister convulsed him 
with grief, and made him realize to the full the horror of death. 
He thereupon resolved that he would allow nothing to restrain 
him from winning moksha, that is, emancipation from transmi 
gration, the Hindu idea of salvation. Consequently, he re 
turned to his studies with redoubled energy, and made up his 
1 P. 326, below. 


mind to allow no such entanglement as marnajge to impede him 
in his quest. In 1846, when he was twenty-one or twenty- two, 
his parents determined to get him married ; but hejledjrom 
home. Thus ends the first section of his life. 

2. In his wanderings he met a number of ascetics, who re 
ceived him into their order. His father came out to seek 
for him and caught him, but he escaped once more. He then 
met with a sannyasi named Brahmanand, and by him was 
convinced of the truth of the Vedanta doctrine of the identity 
of his own soul and God. This he gave up at a later date. 
For two years he wandered about, seeking good teachers. 

In 1848 he proceeded to Chanoda Kanyali on the banks of 
the river Nerbudda, and met several groups of scholarly 
ascetics, some of them followers of the Yoga system, others of 
the Vedanta. He was most anxious to become an initiated 
sann^ast, that is, a Hindu monk who has renounced the world 
completely. He gives up caste^ home, marriage^ property, 
the use of money ancToTnre, and is expected to live a wander 
ing life. If he were once received into one of the recognized 
orders of sannyasis, his parents could no longer bring pressure 
upon him to marry. At length he begged an ascetic known as 
Paramananda, belonging to the SarasvatI order of Sankara s 
Dandis, to receive him. At first he refused, but, after much 
persuasion, he initiated him, giving him the name Dayjmajicja. 
Since he had thereby become a member of the SarasvatI order, 
he was henceforward known as Dayananda SarasvatI. Until 
the day of his death he would tell no one his real name. 

From this time onwards for eight years he wandered about 
from place to place, tQdngJx^ndJ^^ 
Yoga. His A utobiography does not tell us why he was so eager 
tolearn Yoga methods ; but he probably regarded them as 
the proper means for reaching the emancipation which he was 
so desirous to reach. 

Either at the time of his initiation as a sannyasi, or at some 


point during these years, he 
Sankara, and came to believe that Godjs^ersonal, that the 
human soul is distinctjr^mjjod, and that the world is real. 
HedoeTnot tell us who the teachers were who led him to these 
opinions. They are probably the outcome of the modern 
influences he came under, and of his original belief in Siva. 

In any case he continued to worship Siva, and believed in the 
j ^*^f*-\^^-*i*^^**^^~>^*~**-^*~~ 

personality of God. 

His books on Yoga contained anatomical accounts of the 

human body. Reading in these volumes long and intricate 

descriptions of nerve-circles and nerve-centres which he could 

not understand, he was suddenly rilled with suspicion. As it 

happened, a dead body was floating down the river on the 

banks of which he was walking. He drew the corpse to the 

I shore, cut it open, satisfied himself that the books were false, 

and in consequence consigned them to the river along with the 

corpse. From this time his faith in many works on Yoga 

gradually dwindled. 

The Autobiography stqgs^iort atjhe teginning of 1857, 
and we are without information of his activities until 1860. 
Thus there is no echo of the Indian Mutiny whatsoever in 
his life. 

He had been greatly disappointed in his search for compe 
tent teachers. 1 In 1860, however, he came across a blind 
Brahman in the city of Mathug, (Muttra), and became his 
disciple for two and a half years. His master, whose name was 
Virajananda,was a great authority on Panini s Grammar. He 
believed implicitly in the authority of the ancient books, but 
condemned all modern Sanskrit religious works as worthless 
lies. He would not accept Dayananda as a disciple until the 
latter had sunk all his modern books in the river Jumna. 
Blind and learned though he was, he was a very irritable man, 

1 For the remainder of Dayananda s life see his Life by Bawa Chhajju 


and would now and then give his disciple corporal chastise- fr 
ment. One day he struck him on the hand with a stick with * 
such violence that he carried the mark of it all his life. This 
man influenced Dayananda more than any other. He read 
with him Panini s Grammar and Patanjali s Commentary on 
it. We are also told that he studied the Vedanta-sutras and 
many other books, but what these other books were, we do 
not know. Whether it was from Virajananda that he learned 
the extraordinary method of expounding the Vedas which he 
used in writing his Commentaries in later years, we do not 
know. But his teacher certainly sketched his mission for him. 
When he was leaving, Virajananda said to him : 

The Vedas have long ceased to be taught in Bharatvarsha, 
I go and teach them; teach the true Shastras, and dispel, by 
? their light, the darkness which the false creeds have given 
J birth to. Remember that, while works by common men are 
. utterly misleading as to the nature and attributes of the one 
Urue God, and slander the great Rishis and Munis, those by 

the ancient teachers are free from such a blemish. This is 
$ the test which will enable you to differentiate the true, ancient 

teaching from the writings of ordinary men. 1 

It was in May, 1863, that he took leave of his master and 
began his wanderings once more. He now regarded himself as 
a learned man, and usually conversed in Sanskrit rather than 
in the vernacular Hindi. Although he had many a conversa 
tion and discussion during those years, he still thought of him 
self as a religious student and not as a teacher. When he 
started out, he was still__a^^y^itee^o^Siva, wearing the neck 
lace of rudraksha berries, and the three lines of white ash on the 
forehead, which distinguish the pious Saiva. But jji the 
course^ofjiis w^mdejrinj^Jn^^ and he laid these 

things aside once for all. Henceforward he worshipped God, 
and recognized Siva as onjv^ojij)fjh^ of thie 

1 Chhajju Singh, 77. 


Supreme. This change seems to have come in the year 1866, 

which was clearly a time of crisis for him. During that year 

he came in contac^mth^various missionaries, and had long 

conversations with them. The same year finds him not only 

I preaching against idolatry at Hardwar, but telling the pilgrims 

there that sacred spots and ceremonial bathing are of no reli- 

{ gious value whatsoever, and denouncing the great Vaishnava 

1 book, the Bhdgavata Pur ana, as immoral. 

3. A further change came in the year 1868. Virajananda 
and he seem both to have felt that it was now his duty to be 
gin the public exposition of his ideas. From this time, then, 
Dayananda s publicjife_ may^jDe^ajcM,^^!^^ His 

biographer speaks of him as trying several methods of work, 
and finding them each more or less a failure. 

His first plan was to talk to the pandits in Sanskrit, in the 
hope that, if he convinced them of the truth of his ideas, they 
would spread the light all over the land. But these old- 
fashioned conservatives, no matter how often convicted of 
error, were of the same opinion still. So he gave the course 
up in despair. 

He next decided to adopt one of the methods which he had 
seen in use in Christian missions, namely education. He 
found some well-to-do men to finance several schools for him. 
The curriculum was to be confined to early Sanskrit literature. 
He hoped that pupils trained in this way would become mis 
sionaries of his ideas. The schools were opened, and continued 
for some time ; but, though the pandits were quite willing to 
receive his pay and become schoolmasters, they did not teach 
the new ideas ; and the work came to nothing. 

Consequently, he determined to appeal to the people them 
selves, both by lectures and by books. He published a num 
ber of books, and went from town to town, delivering lectures, 
in Sanskrit, on the right interpretation of the Vedas and the 
teaching which he believed they gave. This method was 


more successful. He found it quite possible to draw huge 
audiences wherever he went, and to get the ear, not only of 
ordinary men, but of the wealthy. He had many conversa 
tions with individuals, but consistently refused to speak to 
women. Wherever it was possible, he met the pandits in 
discussion. He was specially anxious to prove in every place, 
in public discussion with the most learned men, that idolatry 
has not the sanction of the Vedas. His followers declare he 
was always victorious in these discussions. All those who 
met him in discussion declared him to be violent, loud-tongued 
and overbearing. He still lived like a sannyasi, wearing only 
a minimum of clothing. He was a large, powerful man with 
striking features, and rather a remarkable voice. 

In the end of 1^2 he went down to Calcutta, and spent four 
months there, lecturing, speaking and discussing. He had 
been above all things anxious to meet Keshab Chandra Sen ; 
and it is clear that Kesjiab and the Samaj^ejejcjs^d^a^verj 7 
woncterfuj^injl^^ Two changes in his method 

date from this time. He began to wear regular clothes ; and 
a picture which still survives shows that he must have copied 
the Brahma leaders, whose dress was a modification of mission- 
ary costume. Secondly, he realized, from the great influence 
exercised by Keshab and the other Brahma leaders through 
their addresses in Bengali, that he ought to give up using 
Sanskrit in his public lectures and speak in Hindi instead. 

4. His fame and influence continued to spread and become 
deeper, as he taught far and wide throughout North India. 
At Allahabad in 1874 he completed his Satyarth Prakdsh, 
with which we shall have to deal later. In the end of 1874 
we find him in Bombay, in close touch both with the Hindu 
community and the young Prarthana Samaj. 1 He seems to 
have had more than usual success in the city ; for he returned 
early in 1875, and there launched his great scheme, the foun- 
1 P. 76, above. 



dation of the Arya Samaj. The members of the Prarthana 
Samaj had hoped to be able to unite with him, but the differ 
ences were too deep. It is clear, however, that the main fea 
tures of his society were borrowed directly from the Brahma 
and Prarthana Samajes, as he saw them working in Calcutta, 
Bombay and elsewhere. The common name covers common 
features. This may be taken as the end of the third, and the 
beginning of the last, stage of his life. 

On the first of January, 1877, Queen Victoria was proclaimed 
Empress of India in a magnificent Durbar held by the Viceroy, 
Lord Lytton, at Delhi. Dayananda was present as the guest 
of one of the native princes, and met some Hindus from La 
hore, who gave him a pressing invitation to visit the Panjab. 
Shortly after he visited Ludhiana and Lahore. So great was 
his success in this latter city, that the Arya Samaj founded 
there very speedily eclipsed the society founded in Bombay ; 
and Lahore became the headquarters of the movement. 

For six years longer Dayananda lived and worked, touring 
throughout North India, and steadily extending the Samaj. 
There are just two matters to be noted during these years. 
The first is his connection with the Theosophical Society 
which had been founded in New York in 1875. In 1878 the 
founders, Col. Olcott and Madame Blavatsky, wrote to Daya 
nanda and suggested a union of the two movements, on the 
ground that their aim was the same; and Dayananda ac 
cepted the proposal. The Theosophist leaders came to India 
in January, 1879 ; and the strange union continued until 1881, 
when it was broken off, both parties feeling bitter and ag 
grieved. 1 

The other matter is a living part of his general policy. He 
consistently sought to recall the Hindus to what he conceived 
to be the ancient faith, and as consistently stirred them up 
to vehement opposition to Christianity and Muhammadan- 

1 Chhajju Singh, 476-532 ; ODL., I, 135 ; 396 ff. Below, pp. 218, 226. 


ism. In the first edition of the Satydrth Prakdsh, 1 published 
in 1874, he approved of beef-eating under certain conditions, 
but in the second edition it is condemned. In 1882 he formed 
the Gaurakshini Sabhd, 2 or Cow-protecting Association, and 
about the same time published his book, Gokarunanidhi? on 
the same subject. The purpose was to rouse Hindu feeling 
against Christians and Muhammadans on account of the 
killing of cows and oxen, and to present a monster petition 
to Government, 4 begging that the practice might be prohib 
ited. Dayananda died before the movement had spread 
very far ; but later it attained great proportions, as we shall 
see. 5 In this connection Sir Valentine Chirol has suggested 6 
that Dayananda was a political schemer. This we believe 
to be a complete mistake, although, as we shall show, his un 
healthy teaching has produced very unhealthy political fruit. 7 

He passed away on the 3oth of October, 1883, at the age of 

5. The following sketch of his position and aims by Dr. 
Griswold of Lahore is so vivid and convincing that we cannot 
do better than transcribe it : 

Pandit Dayanand Sarasvati became finally emancipated 
from the authority of Brahmanism in some such way as Luther 
became emancipated from the authority of the Church of Rome. 
Luther appealed from the Roman Church and the authority 
of tradition to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. 
Pandit Dayanand Sarasvati appealed from the Brahmanical 
Church and the authority of Smriti to the earliest and most 
Sacred of Indian Scriptures. The watchword of Luther was 
Back to the Bible : the watchword of Pandit Dayanand was 
Back to the Vedas. With this religious watchword another 
watchword was implicitly, if not explicitly, combined, namely 

1 P. 302. Also Sanskdr Vidhi, n ; 42. 6 P. 358, below. 

2 Chhajju Singh, 726-30. 6 Indian Unrest, 109 ff. 

3 Ib., 721. 7 P. 358, below. 

4 Ib., 730. 


India for the Indians. Combining these two, we have the 
principle, both religious and political, that the religion of India 
as well as the Sovereignty of India ought to belong to the Indian 
people; in other words, Indian religion for the Indians, and 
Indian Sovereignty for the Indians. In order to accomplish 
the first end, Indian religion was to be reformed and purified 
by a return to the Vedas, and foreign religions as Islam and 
Christianity were to be extirpated. Thus the program included 
reform for indigenous religion and extirpation for foreign reli 
gion. With regard to the second end, the founder of the Arya 
Samaj seems to have taught that a return to the pure teachings 
of the Vedas would gradually fit the people of India for self- 
rule and that independence would ultimately come to them. I 
am not charging Pandit Dayanand Sarasvati with disloyalty. 
Every sincere well-wisher of India hopes that the time will 
come when the Indian people through the spread of education 
and the removal of bad social customs and above all through 
the prevalence of true religion will befitted for Self-government. 
It is evident from all this that Pandit Dayanand Sarasvati was 
a man of large views. He was a dreamer of splendid dreams. He 
had a vision of India purged of her superstitions, filled with the 
fruits of Science, worshipping one God, fitted for self-rule, 
having a place in the sisterhood of nations, and restored to her 
ancient glory. All this was to be accomplished by throwing 
overboard the accumulated superstitions of the centuries and 
returning to the pure and inspired teachings of the Vedas. 
Thus the founder of the Arya Samaj was a kind of Indian Elijah 
or John the Baptist, who felt himself called to turn the hearts 
of the degenerate children of modern India to their fathers 
of the glorious Vedic age, to reconcile the present with the 
past. The character of his mission helps to account for the 
violence of his methods of controversy. Elijah was not specially 
gentle in his dealings with the prophets of Baal; nor was 
Luther very tender toward the Roman Church. In like manner 
Pandit Dayanand Sarasvati stood with his back to the wall, 
facing on the one hand the attacks of the Brahmanical hier 
archy and on the other the assaults of the foreign religions, 
Islam and Christianity. Under these circumstances we can 
hardly wonder that he struck back as hard as he could. Luther 


dealt heavy blows at the Roman Church as Pandit Dayanand 
did at the Brahmanical Church. Suppose now that while 
Luther was fighting with Rome, an extensive and powerful 
Mohammedan propaganda, which threatened to devour all the 
fruits of the Reformation, was found all over Europe. What 
would Luther have done under these circumstances, but smite 
the apostate Roman Church at home and the Mohammedan 
propaganda from abroad with impartial zeal and violence and 
with no great effort to be fair and appreciative. This illus 
trates exactly Panolit Dayanand s attitude toward the degen 
erate Brahmanical Church, on the one hand, and the foreign 
faiths Christianity and Islam on the other. In his opinion, 
the one needed to be purged and pruned; the others, to be 
extirpated. The sections in the Satyarth Prakdsh which deal 
with the criticism of Islam and Christianity are evidently in 
tended to be the literature of such extirpation, i.e., to be the 
means of rooting out all such foreign superstitions from the 
hearts of the sons of India. For extreme unfairness, for in 
ability to state the position of opponents without caricature, 
and for general crudeness, these sections can hardly be matched 
in the whole literature of religious controversy. 1 

6. Dayananda s chief convictions may be summed up as 
follows : 

a. There is one God only. He alone is to be worshipped ; 
and he must be worshipped spiritually, not by images. 

b. The four Vedas are God s knowledge. They contain all 
religious truth, and also all science, at least in germ. They 
are the eternal utterance of God. There is no thing temporary 
or local in them. Everything which seems a reference to par 
ticular times and places only seems such through miscon 
ception. There is no polytheism in the Vedas. The many 
divine names which occur in them are all epithets of the one 
true God. These statements apply only to the collections of 
hymns. The Brahmanas have less authority. Many other 
Hindu books are of value, because they were written by 

1 Indian Evangelical Review, January, 1892. 


rishis and other inspired men, but they are not authoritative 
in the same sense as the Vedas ; and they are not to be followed 
where they contradict the Vedas. 

c. The Vedas teach transmigration and karma. 

d. Forgiveness is for ever impossible. 

e. Salvation is emancipation from transmigration. 
The following are Dayananda s chief works : 

(1) Satyarth Prakash, a Hindi work, setting forth his 
teaching on marriage, the bearing of children, education, the 
ascetic orders, government, God, the Vedas, the world, man, 
salvation and food, and a long and interesting description of 
the various creeds of India with Dayananda s criticism of them. 

(2) Veda Bhashya, a Vedic Commentary in Sanskrit. It 
is incomplete, yet covers the whole of the Yajurveda and the 
major part of the Rigveda. ^ 

(3) Rigoedddi Bhdshya Bhumikd, an Introduction to his 
Vedic Commentary, partly in Sanskrit, partly in Hindi, a 
controversial work in which he condemns all existing commen 
taries as false, and expounds his own principles. 

r 7. The most amazing of Dayananda s ideas is his concep 
tion of the Vedas. In order to understand how he came to 
hold it, we must recognize what the traditional Hindu doc 
trine about them is. Since the Veda is the eternal utterance 
of God, there can be no temporal references in it. As Max 
Miiller says : 

If any historical or geographical names occur in the Vedas, 
they are all explained away, because, if taken in their natural 
sense, they would impart to the Vedas an historical or temporal 
taint. 1 

This violent method of exegesis, whereby hundreds of allu 
sions to places and events in these most human documents 
are distorted and misexplained, already finds clear expression 

1 Biographical Essays, 170. 


as the only right principle of Vedic interpretation in the earliest 
treatises on the subject that have come down to us, some of 
which come from dates five or six centuries before Christ. 

Dayananda held fast by the old dogma, that the Vedas 
are God s eternal utterance. Several other Hindu ideas, 
notably the doctrines of transmigration and karma and of 
the sanctity of the cow, remained firmly seated in his mind. 

But in his long, stormy career of wandering and disputing 
with all sorts and conditions of men, the facts of life, as they 

stared him in the face in North India under the British Govern- 


ment, had driven certain very modern and un-Hindu ideas 
into his mind with great force. The most important of these 
was the group of related convictions, that there is but one 
God, that all the gods (devas) of the Hindu pantheon have 
no existence, that idolatry is irrational and degrading, and 
that the sacrifice of animals and the offering of food as prac 
tised in Hindu temples are silly superstitions. Next in im 
portance was his perception of the practical value of Western 
science and invention as made plain in the railway, the tele 
graph and modern weapons of war. Amongst his other 
fresh convictions may be mentioned the folly and danger of 
caste as practised in modern times, and of child-marriage. 

Now these two groups of ideas, Hindu and modern, seem to 
have been both firmly implanted in his mind. He had had no 
modern education. He did not know sufficient English to 
read English books; so that he had no grasp of modern 
methods of thought and criticism. Nor had he had a thor 
ough Hindu training. He had read with his blind teacher the 
best that Hindu literature contained on grammar and phi 
losophy, but he had had no complete Vedic education. The 
time he spent with Virajanand was insufficient for the purpose. 
Hence, believing the Veda to be God s knowledge, he neces 
sarily concluded that it corresponded with his own convictions 
as to truth, i.e, that it taught monotheism, transmigration 


and modern science, and that it did not recognize the gods 
of Hinduism nor sacrifice ; and, being a Hindu born and bred, 
and filled with Hindu methods of thought, he proceeded, like 
the earliest Hindu scholars, by violent methods of interpreta 
tion to expel from the Vedas what he held to be false and to 
import into them what he held to be true. Max Muller 
writes : 

To him not only was everything contained in the Vedas 
perfect truth, but he went a step further, and by the most in 
credible interpretations succeeded in persuading himself and 
others that everything worth knowing, even the most recent 
inventions of modern science, were alluded to in the Vedas. 
Steam-engines, railways, and steam-boats, all were shown to 
have been known, at least in their germs, to the poets of the 

Naturally he took full advantage of the principle stated by 
the ancient scholars, which we have just referred to, as 
justification of his methods. 

Yet, though he claims to have restored the ancient inter 
pretation, in reality he departs from it in two large and most 
important matters. The ancient scholars recognize the gods 
in the Vedas and all the details of their worship, while he re 
moves all the gods, and leaves only the One. To the ancient 
teachers the Brahmanas with their appendices, the Aranyakas 
and the Upanishads, are as truly the eternal word of God as 
the Hymns are ; but Dayananda makes the claim only for 
the Samhitas, i.e. the collections of Hymns, and recognizes 
the presence of a human element in the Brahmanas. He 
thus stands absolutely alone as an interpreter of the Veda. 
No Hindu, ancient or modern, ever taught what he teaches ; 
and we need scarcely say that every Western scholar repu 
diates both his methods and his results. 

It is thus quite possible to follow the process of thought 

1 Biographical Essays, 170. 


by which the Svami reached his doctrines. Yet, when one 
turns to the hymns themselves and to his interpretation of 
them, it becomes exceedingly difficult to believe in his straight 
forwardness and sincerity. One can hardly imagine any 
mind believing what he says. In order to give the ordinary 
reader some indication of his methods, we here transcribe the 
first five stanzas of the first hymn of the Rigveda, as translated 
by Hopkins. 1 It is a hymn of praise to the god Agni, i.e. Fire, 
regarded as the great priest, because sacrifices were wafted to 
the gods on the flames and smoke of the altar-fire. 

To Agni 

I worship Agni ; house-priest, he, 

And priest divine of sacrifice, 

Th oblation priest, who giveth wealth. 

Agni, by seers of old adored, 
To be adored by those to-day 
May he the gods bring here to us. 

Through Agni can one wealth acquire, 
Prosperity from day to day, 
And fame of heroes excellent. 

X), Agni ! whatsoe er the rite 

That thou surround st on every side, 

That sacrifice attains the gods. 

May Agni, who oblation gives 

The wisest, true, most famous priest 

This god with (all) the gods approach ! 

The meaning expressed in the above translation is precisely 
what is given by all Hindu scholars, ancient and modern; 

1 Religions of India, 108. For the materials used in this discussion I am 
indebted to Dr. Griswold s pamphlet, The Dayanandl Interpretation of the 
word Deva. 


and all Western scholars agree. There are five words in the 
translation printed in italics. In the original the word in each 
case is deva, god, either in the singular or the plural. In the 
first stanza it is translated as an adjective, elsewhere as a sub 

Dayananda, like certain early Christian exegetes, is an ad 
vocate of the method of dual interpretation. Agni is not a 
god, but is at once a name of the one God, and the name of 
the material element, fire. Taken as a name of God, it means 
"giver and illuminator of all things." Taken as the material 
element, it means "fire which gives victory in battle by means 
of skilfully contrived weapons." This last is an allusion to 
modern firearms. In the first stanza he takes the word deva 
as an epithet of the one God and as meaning " Giver." In the 
second he translates it "excellent sense-organs" or "excellent 
qualities of knowledge," or "excellent seasons," or "excellent 
pleasures. Of the fourth and fifth stanzas he gives two trans 
lations, the one taking Agni as " God," the other taking it as 
"fire." In the fourth stanza, if God is addressed, devdh means 
"learned men" ; if fire is addressed, devdh means "excellent 
things." In the fifth stanza, if we take Agni to mean God, the 
last line runs, " May this self-luminous One approach with 
learned men" ; if we take Agni to mean fire, the meaning is, 
"May this illuminator approach with excellent qualities." 
This needs no comment. As translated by Hindu and by 
Western scholars, the poem is a polytheistic hymn, but clear, 
comprehensible, human. Dayananda s translation reduces 
the lines to nonsense. 

It ought to be stated here that Pandit S. N. Agnihotri, 1 the 
founder of the Deva Samaj, published in 1891 a pamphlet 
called Pandit Daydnand Unveiled, in which he avers that a 
number of men, some belonging to Gujarat, others to Bengal, 
others to the Panjab, declared to him, either in conversation 
1 P. 173, below, 


or by letter, that Dayananda, in personal conversation with 
them, had acknowledged that his statements about the Veda 
were not matters of conviction but of diplomacy, that a reli 
gion must have some superstition as its basis, and that he had 
chosen the infallibility of the Vedas, because nothing else 
would be accepted by Hindus. Dayananda had been dead 
eight years when the pamphlet appeared ; and one of his fol 
lowers attempted to demolish the writer by means of another 
pamphlet. 1 As the evidence was not carefully sifted by an 
impartial scholar at the time, it is not possible to say precisely 
how much weight ought to be attached to it : yet two or three 
of Agnihotri s witnesses were religious men of known probity ; 
so that it would be hard to set their testimony aside. I have 
also received myself, from an altogether different source, 
another piece of evidence which strikingly corroborates their 
statements. The Rev. P. M. Zenker of the Church Mission 
ary Society, Muttra, writes of an incident which occurred 
when he was in Brindaban preaching at a spring festival. He 
cannot vouch for the year, but it was 1884, 1885 or 1886. One 
of the leaders of the local Arya Samaj had a long and serious 
conversation with him in the afternoon. Mr. Zenker re 
turned his call the same evening ; when they had another 
long talk. I quote Mr. Zenker s report of the conversation, 
so far as it refers to the Arya Samaj : 

My informant stated that Dayanand s real object was to 
obtain for India all the advantages which Western civilization 
has conferred on the nations of Europe and America. But, 
being fully acquainted with the character of his Hindu fellow- 
countrymen, he knew they would hardly accept as a guide one 
who presented this as the sole aim and object of all the laborious 
training they would have to undergo. He therefore cast about 
for an expedient to gild the pill ; and he thought he had found 
it in the cry, "Let us return to the pure teaching of the Veda." 

1 Agnihotri Demolished, by Rambhaj Datta. 


This conversation, which occurred only some two or three 
years after Dayananda s death in 1883, corroborates the 
statements of Agnihotri s witnesses, who had had personal 
intercourse with the leader himself. The evidence is not 
absolutely conclusive ; but, taken along with the amazing 
character of Dayananda s commentaries on the Vedas, it 
will have considerable weight with the open-minded student. 1 
ITjThe following is the official creed of the Samaj : 

i. God is the primary cause of all true knowledge, and of 
everything known by its name. 

jk God is All-Truth, All-Knowledge, All-Beatitude, Incor 
poreal, Almighty, Just, Merciful, Unbegotten, Infinite, Un 
changeable, without a beginning, Incomparable, the Support 
and the Lord of All, All-pervading, Omniscient, Imperishable, 
Immortal, Exempt from fear, Eternal, Holy, and the Cause of 
the Universe. To Him alone worship is due. 

iii. The Vedas are the books of true knowledge, and it is 
the paramount duty of every Arya to read or hear them read, 
to teach and preach them to others. 

iv. One should always be ready to accept truth and renounce 

v. All actions ought to be done conformably to virtue, i.e. 
after a thorough consideration of right or wrong. 

vi. The primary object of the Samaj is to do good to the 
world by improving the physical, spiritual, and social condi 
tion of mankind. 

vii. All ought to be treated with love, justice, and due re 
gard to their merits. 

viii. Ignorance ought to be dispelled and knowledge diffused. 

ix. No one ought to be contented with his own good alone, 
but every one ought to regard his prosperity as included in that 
of others. 

x. In matters which affect the general social well-being of 
the whole society, one ought to discard all differences and not 
allow one s individuality to interfere, but in strictly personal 
matters every one may act with freedom. 

1 Cf. the Tiyas, below, p. 313. 


But these sentences omit many of the points which it is most 
important to know. 

9. The following are the leading theological ideas of the 
Samaj. Orthodox Hindus allow only men of the three high 
est castes to study the Vedas : Aryas invite all, both men and 
women, to study them. On the other hand, they condemn 
modern Hindu literature. They teach that there are three 
eternal existences, God, the soul and elemental matter. The 
soul undergoes transmigration according to the law of karma. 
Forgiveness is altogether impossible. Salvation comes only 
by continued well-doing ; and the soul, even when released 
from transmigration, is not absorbed in God. The doctrine 
of avataras, or divine incarnations, is denied. Idolatry is 
vehemently condemned, and also the practice of killing ani 
mals in sacrifice or of offering food on the altar to God. The 
fire-sacrifice of the Vedas is retained, but is explained as a 
means of purifying the air. The Hindu form of ancestor- 
worship, known as the Srdddha, is condemned as useless ; and 
pilgrimage is given up as superstitious. 

10. A careful reading of the Satyarth Prakash shews that the 
ethical system of the Samaj is crude in the extreme. Many of 
the laws of Manu in all their barbarity are laid down for use 
in modern life. For example, the individual is encouraged 
to kill those whom he regards as monstrously evil men ; l and 
the king is advised to have the adulterer burned alive on a red- 
hot iron bedstead, and the adulteress devoured alive by dogs, 
in the presence of many men and women. 2 But it is in its 
marriage laws that the book goes farthest astray. Child- 
marriage is prohibited, 3 and virgin widows and widowers are 
allowed to remarry, 4 excellent regulations, as all will agree. 
But widows and widowers who have lived with their spouses 
are told not to remarry. 5 Yet, for their relief, and for the 

1 Durga Prasad s translation, 203. 

2 Ib., 204, 207. 3 /6>j I32> 4 Ibi} I56> 5 /k I6- 


relief also of husbands and wives in certain circumstances, 
the law of niyoga is laid down. 1 Niyoga is simply sexual re 
lationships without marriage. The details are too horrible 
to transcribe. They may be seen in the book. In 1892 some 
Aryas brought a law-suit against a Hindu who wrote against 
niyoga, calling it adultery, but the case was dismissed. 2 One 
is glad to hear that many members of the Samaj would now 
like to repudiate this most immoral legislation, which is 
equally repulsive to the Hindu and the Christian. 

There is another feature of the Satydrth Prakdsh which has 
attracted wide attention. All the outstanding Hindu sects, 
and Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, and Christianity as well, are 
mercilessly criticized in it, and here and there with a good deal 
of malice and injustice. This section of the book has en 
couraged Aryas and provided them with very useful ammuni 
tion for their controversies, but it has also created vehement 
hatred against the Samaj in many quarters. Dayananda s 
stinging taunts have been effective in rousing a number of 
the sects to retaliation and defensive organization. This is 
noticeably true of the Sikhs, 3 the Jains, 4 the Ahmadiyas, 5 the 
Muhammadans, 6 and also of Pandit Din Dayal, 7 the founder 
of the Bharata Dharma Mahamandala. 

Dayananda s own methods of controversy, shewn in his 
public addresses and debates and also in his writings, have 
naturally been adopted by his followers. Wherever they go, 
one hears of slander, passion, and unfair methods; and 
disturbances in the streets and squares have been pitiably 

ii. I had the privilege of being present, in company with 
Dr. Griswold, at an Arya Samaj Sunday morning service in 

1 Durga Prasad s translation, 156-161. 

2 Ruchi Ram Sahni, The Niyoga Doctrine of the Arya Samaj, 35-6. 

3 P. 340, below. 4 P. 329, below. P. 137, below. 
6 P- 35i> below. 7 P. 316, below. 


Lahore in December, 1912. The place of meeting is a large 
oblong hall without seats, with a platform at one end and a 
high narrow gallery at the other. In the floor, in front of the 
platform, there is a square pit, measuring perhaps two feet 
each way. This is the altar. On one side of the hall a small 
platform for singers and a harmonium had been placed. 
When we entered, there was only one man in the hall, and he 
was laying some pieces of wood in order at the bottom of the 
square pit. When that was done, he set up a stick of incense 
on end on the floor at each corner of the pit. Some packets 
of aromatic herbs and several sacrificial vessels lay on the 
floor. Men came dropping in, and squatted in front and on 
the two sides of the altar. When there were perhaps twenty 
present, those next the altar began to intone some Sanskrit 
verses, amongst which we could distinguish some of the verses 
of Rigveda, X, 129. This continued about twenty minutes. 
By that time there were about thirty present. The fire and 
the incense sticks were then lighted ; the aromatic leaves were 
shed on the fire ; and ghl (melted butter) was rubbed on the 
outer edges of the altar. Other verses were now chanted, 
while the flames rose nearly two feet above the level of the 
floor. This is the Havana, which Aryas are recommended to 
perform every morning, at the time of their devotions, for the 
purification of the air. This continued for about fifteen min 
utes. All then rose to their feet and sat down in various 
places in the hall. A young man mounted the platform to 
lead the service, one sat down at the harmonium and a few 
others gathered round him to sing. There were forty-eight 

The second part of the service then began. It consisted 
of the singing of hymns, the repetition of texts (one of them 
the Gdyairi), prayer and a sermon, all in Hindi except a few 
texts which were in Sanskrit. It was just like a Protestant 
service, and totally unlike any Vedic observance. During 


this part of the sendee many boys came in. Before the 
sermon began there were perhaps two hundred present. Later 
the number rose to two hundred and fifty. There was no 
woman or girl present. I am told they are not excluded, but 
a special sendee, conducted by a lady, is held at another time 
and place, which they attend in fair numbers. 

12. The death of Dayananda was a great blow to the mem 
bers of the Samaj ; yet the work was carried on with enthu 
siasm ; and the movement has continued to grow at a rapid 
pace since then. Large sums of money were collected to per 
petuate the memory of the founder, and in 1887, the Daya 
nanda Anglo-Vedic College was opened in Lahore. This 
great foundation, in which the flower of the youth of the Arya 
Samaj receive a modern English education, and also instruc 
tion in the religion of the Samaj, forms a very worthy memorial 
to Dayananda s devotion and energy. 

In 1892 the Arya community fell in two. This division is 
parallel to the first split in the Brahma camp. As Keshab led 
out the progressives, and left Debendra and the conservatives 
behind ; so the Arya Samaj broke up into the College or " Cul 
tured" party and the Vegetarian or Mahatma party. The 
former are progressive, stand for modern education and for 
freedom in diet, and declare that the Arya Samaj is the one 
true universal religion, which must be taught to all the 
world ; while their opponents favour the ancient Hindu edu 
cation, stand by vegetarianism and declare that the teaching 
of the Samaj is pure Hinduism, but not the universal religion. 

13. I have failed to obtain printed reports of the work of the 
Samaj, so that it is rather hard to estimate what they are doing. 
Their methods, however, are well known. Those members 
of a local Samaj who pay i% of their income to the funds 
elect the managing Committee of the Samaj. Then the 
Samajes in each Province elect representatives who form the 
Pratinidhi Sabhd, or Representative Assembly, of the Prov- 


ince. Since the split in 1892 there have been duplicate or 
ganizations. There are missionaries and preachers of the 
Samaj, some paid, others honorary. Most of the paid men 
were originally Hindu pandits ; most of the honorary workers 
are men who have had an English education. The Samaj 
also copies other forms of Christian effort. They have their 
Tract _Society, their Strl Samaj or Women s Arya Samaj, 
their Arya Kumar Sabhd, or Young Men s Arya Association 
(a copy of the Y. M. C. A.), their Orphanages, and their work 
among the Depressed, which will be noticed elsewhere. 1 

The Samaj is doing a good deal of education. Lala Lajpat 
Rai writes with regard to the schools and colleges of the 
progressive party : 

At Lahore it has founded and maintains a first-class College, 
preparing scholars up to the highest standard and for the high 
est University examinations. This was created in 1886 in 
sacred memory of its founder, and is called "The Dayanand 
Anglo- Vedic College." Its objects are to encourage and en 
force the study of (a) Hindi literature; (6) classical Sanskrit 
and the Vedas ; and (c) English literature and sciences, both 
theoretical and applied ; and, furthermore, " to provide means 
for giving technical education." It owns considerable property, 
and has endowments yielding an annual income (including 
tuition and admission fees, etc.) of over Rs. 60,000 (4000). 
The Principal is honorary, and has held the post with remarkable 
success since the foundation. On the staff are several of its 
! own alumni, working in a missionary spirit on mere subsistence 
j allowances. Directly or indirectly connected with the College 
I are a number of secondary and primary schools maintained by 
/ the Samaj throughout the province, some of which receive the 
usual grants from the Educational Department. In the United 
Provinces, also, the Samaj maintains several schools on the same 
lines as the Anglo- Vedic or Anglo-Sanskrit Schools of the Pun 
jab, their principal Anglo- Vedic school being at Dehra Dun. 2 

1 P. 371, below. 

2 Contemporary Review, May, 1910. 


The centre and crown of the educational efforts of the Ma- 
hatma party is the Gurukula Mahdvidydlaya at Hardwar, a great 
institution, founded in 1902, in which an attempt is being made 
to give a true Hindu education and to save students from the 
contaminations both of Hindu home and city life and of 
Western civilization. It is a most interesting and promising 
experiment. The situation is all that could be desired ; good 
food is provided, and the physique of the students receives 
a good deal of attention. Here is what a Christian writes of 
the conditions of life and study : l 

The students are admitted at the age of eight years, and 
the parents are under written pledge not to remove their sons 
from the school till the expiry of the 17 years course, i.e. till 
they have reached the age of 25. During the whole of these 
17 years they may never once go home or leave the school. 
Indeed, they are only allowed to have a quarter of an hour s 
interview once a year with their parents, and that in presence 
of their teachers. . . . During the whole of their long course 
they are watched day and night by their teachers and house 
fathers. Without these they may not go out even for a walk. 
No woman may approach the Gurukula. They live a simple, 
hardy life, on strictly vegetarian diet. . . . They wear the 
saffron dress of the religious orders. 

There are many points to admire in the life and the methods 
of study. Almost all the work is done in the vernacular, not 
in English. Great care is taken to train the character as well 
as the mind, and the foundation of a true love of India is 
laid from day to day. One wonders, however, whether the 
exclusion of home influence is wise, and whether anything like 
a sound literary education can be given, while Dayananda s 
interpretation of the Veda is retained. There are other Guru- 
kulas at Gujranwala, Farukhabad and elsewhere. 

The Samaj does also a good deal for the education of girls. 
They have a very successful boarding school at Jullundur. 
1 Rev. W. E. S. Holland in East and West, June, 1907. 


Lala Lajpat Rai, struck with the work of the Salvation 
Army, started recently in Lahore the Vedic Salvation Army. 

In the Panjab and the United Provinces the Samaj has done 
valuable work by its testimony to monotheism, its opposition 
to idolatry and to other superstitions and by its educational 
work. Its polemic against caste, child-marriage, priestcraft, 
pilgrimage, and self-torture in the name of religion, is all to 
the good, although members of the Samaj are still bound by 
caste, 1 and many have not given up child-marriage. In these 
matters there is far more talk than action. The great expan 
sion of the Samaj in recent years 2 gives promise of still farther 
growth, and the zeal of the members is proved by the very 
generous way in which they subscribe to the funds. Daya- 
nanda s praise of all things Indian, and his defence of the Vedas 
and of transmigration have proved very popular. 

Yet there is no risk involved in prophesying that the Samaj 
will not have a great history. In the very sources of its pres 
ent strength there is that which will inevitably lead to its 
ruin. The false interpretation of the Vedas, on which the 
whole structure rests, will inevitably crumble as enlightenment 
proceeds. The attempt to retain much that is old and out 
worn, instead of transcending it, is another source of weakness. 
The retention of the doctrine of transmigration and karma is 
in itself most dangerous. So long as that remains, a healthy 
monotheism is impossible, 3 and caste cannot be rooted out. 4 ; 

On the 3oth of November, 1907, at the Samaj Anniversary in 
Lahore, Prof. Lala Sain Das, M.A., gave an address in which 
he asked the assembly to realize how little work they were 
doing in comparison with Christian Missions, how weak they 

1 A low-caste man wanted to send his son to the D. A. V. College, Lahore, 
but there was so much opposition that the authorities kept him out. 

2 The last census shows that they now number 243,000. 

3 See the author s Crown of Hinduism, 392-407. 

4 Ib., 179-181 ; 191. 


were spiritually and how impotent socially through the caste 
system. He added : 

Two new forces are now at work in India (i) English edu 
cation, and (2) Christian evangelisation. The first, formerly 
a source of weakness to the Hindu society, has now proved a 
source of strength to the Arya Samaj. Superstition at once gave 
way before the scientific education. In order, therefore, to fully 
avail ourselves of the former and to nullify the effect of the 
latter, we should open as many schools as possible where all the 
latest discoveries in science should be taught and education 
on national and modern lines should be imparted free to as 
large a number as our funds permit, and, secondly to carry the 
torch of Vedic light to the remotest corners of India at least 
where the Arya Samaj is still unrepresented. But then ^ there 
comes in the question of funds. Our rich men are not going to 
part with their money, because they have to minister to their 
own wants, to those of their sons and daughters and relations. 
Then there is a question of time. Now those who can spare 
time, won t do it, because they have to attend to this business 
and to that business. 1 

An article appeared in Lahore in December, 1912, by Dr. 
Gokal Chand, Barrister, Lahore, in which he declares that 
the Samaj is gradually losing its intensity, and tries to dis 
cover the causes of this weakening. He puts it down, first, 
to the want of a Scripture, a book of spiritual instruction 
which the ordinary man can take up and find help in: 
"the members of the Arya Samaj do not read the Vedas." 
Secondly, he notes they have no religious ministers doing pas 
toral work among the people. Thirdly, they want mission 
aries settled each in his district with an organization and assist 
ants, just like Christian missionaries. Fourthly, they want 
men who have renounced the world and will live only for 
the Samaj. 

LITERATURE. GENERAL : Dr. _H. D. Griswold, art. Arya 
Samaj in ERE. Hand-Book of the Arya Samaj, by Pandit Vishun 
1 Reported in the Bombay Guardian, Dec. 14, 1907. 


Lai Sharma, Allahabad, the Indian Press, 1912, 6 as. (The best 
official account of the rise of the sect, its opinions and work.) BIOG 
RAPHY : The Autobiography is published in Durga Prasad s transla 
tion of the Satyarth Prakash (see below). Maharshi Swdml Dayd- 
nand Sarasvatl Jl Mahdrdj Kd Jivan Charitra, by Pandit Lekh Ram and 
Lala Atma Ram, Lahore, 1897 (the standard biography; in Hindi). 
The Life and Teachings of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, by Bawa 
Chhajju Singh, Lahore, Addison Press, 1903, two vols., Rs. 2. 
DAYANANDA S WORKS : Kigoedabhdshya (a Hindi commentary on the 
Rigveda). Rigvedddibhdshya Bhumikd (Hindi introduction to the 
commentary on the Rik}. An English Translation of the Satyarth 
Prakash by Durga Prasad, Lahore, Virjanand Press, 1908, Rs. 2. 
The Ocean of Mercy (an English translation of Dayananda s tract on 
Cow-killing), by Durga Prasad, Lahore, Virjanand Press, 1889. 
CRITICISM : Chirol s Indian Unrest, chap. VIII. The Niyoga Doc 
trine of the, Arya Samdj, by Ruchi Ram Sahni, Lahore, 1896, one half- 
anna. Pandit Dayanand Unveiled, by S. N. Agnihotri, Lahore, The 
Tribune Press, 1891, out of print. The Daydnandl Interpretation 
of the Word " Dcva" in the Rig Veda, by H. D. Griswold, Ludhiana, 
1897. DEFENCE : The Arya Samdj, Its Aims and Teachings, by Lala 
Lajpat Rai, Contemporary Review, May, 1910. The Arya Samdj 
and lis Detractors, by Munshi Ram and Ram Deva, Hardwar, Satya 
Dharm Pracharak Press, 1911, Rs. 3. Agnihotri Demolished by 
Rambhaj Datta, Lahore, 1891, out of print. 


i. We take next another wandering ascetic whose teaching 
bears quite a close resemblance to Dayananda s. 

Sivanarayana was the son of a Benares Brahman, born 
perhaps about 1840. At home he seems to have received no 
education, and he remained practically illiterate to the end. 
While still a child, he was agitated with religious questions 
which his father could not help him with. He left home, 
according to his own account, when he was twelve years of age, 
and spent the rest of his life wandering all over India, at first 
only asking questions, afterwards teaching every one who 

1 For the word Paramahamsa see below, page 191. 


would listen to him. He dressed in the simplest way, and 
lived practically like a sannyasi, yet he never called himself 
such, and he does not seem to have been initiated into any 
order. We have no means of learning how he came to form 
the opinions he held. Mr. Mohini Mohan Chatterji of Cal 
cutta, to whom I owe all the information I have about him, 
and who was one of his best friends, writes : 

So far as his thoughts were not the results of his musings 
and meditations, they were due to his contact with all sorts 
and conditions of men he came across in his wanderings all over 

He spent most of his time during the last years of his life in 
Bengal. In 1884 or 1885 he went to the temple of Kali at 
Dakshinesvara near Calcutta and met Ramakrishna, but the 
two men were not drawn to each other. In July, 1888, Mr. 
Chatterji, who had already published his well-known transla 
tion of the Bhagavadgitd, met Sivanarayana ; and to this cir 
cumstance we owe the preservation of the latter s teaching. 
Mr. Chatterji listened to him eagerly, and took notes of what 
he said. A few tracts in Bengali, in Hindi and English were 
first published. Then in 1902 Mr. Chatterji edited the 
Amrita Sdgara, a volume in Bengali, containing the main 
elements of his teaching arranged in systematic form. The 
volume was published in Hindi also. Mr. Chatterji then took 
down from his lips an account of his wanderings and of the 
conversations he had with the people he met. This appeared 
in 1907 in English, a volume of 146 pages, published by Luzac, 
and called Indian Spirituality; or the Travels and Teachings of 
Sivanarayana. Quite apart from the religious teaching, the 
book makes very pleasant reading, for it contains many in 
teresting particulars about Hindu temples and the life of as 
cetics. He died at Kallghat, Calcutta, in 1909. 
Mr. Chatterji writes, 


Those who came under his influence were common people in 
the main ; 

and again, 

He expressly prohibited the formation of a sect. But 
there is a large number of men and women in Calcutta and 
other places, specially among the Mech tribe of Assam, who 
look upon him as a source of spiritual inspiration. 

He taught as seriously as Dayananda did that there is but 
one God ; but he attempted to conceive Him as having two 
aspects, the one unknowable, inactive, and tending to be im 
personal, the other distinctly personal and active. He lays 
more stress on the will of God than any other Hindu thinker 
of the nineteenth century. There is one rather curious sur 
vival in his thought, viz., that God is specially manifested in 
light. Perhaps in connection with this same thought, he af 
firms that it is God s will that all men should make to Him 
offerings in fire of things fragrant and sweet. Like Dayananda, 
he holds that this form of sacrifice purifies the air. 

He condemns idolatry with quite as much vehemence as 
Dayananda ; but he goes further, and, like a prophet of the 
Old Testament, proclaims that the worship of idols degrades 
man and works ruin to the nation as a whole. His teaching 
on this point is most penetrating. He also condemned man- 
worship. Consequently, though he visited all the great 
shrines of India, he would not bow down to idols, nor would 
he prostrate himself before religious authorities, as Hindus are 
wont to do. He held most sincerely that the weakness of 
modern India was the result of idolatry and superstition. 
As he wandered through the country, he saw how gross the 
ordinary worship of the temples was, and how frequently 
fraud was employed to increase the popularity of a particular 
god or shrine. All this he condemned very frankly. 1 His 

1 See Indian Spirituality. 


attitude to social questions was also practically the same as 
Dayananda s. He opposed caste, condemned child-marriage, 
advocated female education, and declared woman to be equal 
with man. He says : 

Similar reasons will show you the injustice of the treat 
ment to which your women are subjected. Man and woman 
are equally related to the all-comprehending supreme Being, 
manifested as light. It is pleasant in His sight that each should 
be free to realise the perfection possible to the human individ 
ual. 1 

His teaching is distinctly better than Dayananda s in two 
particulars. First, he did not press the doctrine of trans 
migration and karma. Clearly he had not realized what an 
incubus it had been on the theology of Hinduism and on the 
life of the common people ; so that he occupied rather an am 
biguous position towards it. Mr. Chatterji writes : 

Transmigration did not receive much attention from 
Sivanarayana. He thought it had no bearing upon a man s 
spiritual life or his mukti or salvation. He neither asserted 
nor denied its reality. He left the question open and prac 
tically ignored it. 

The other point on which he advanced beyond Dayananda was 
this : he did not hold the infallibility of the Veda, but recog 
nized the value of many sacred books. 

He believed that, if men would only recognize the true 
import of the two aspects of God, peace would come amongst 
all religions, and good will would be established in place of 
evil. At one time he urged the advisability of holding a great 
religious Conference with the object of bringing all men to 
one opinion with regard to God. The following is another 
of his proposals, which, if not very practical, gives us a peep 

into his mind : 

1 A Word in Season, 14. 


Let all mankind have a common speech. Compile from all 
the scriptures of the world, in that common human tongue, 
a scripture, containing all that is useful for man to know con 
cerning his spiritual and temporal welfare. Preserve that one 
and burn all the rest, burying their ashes out of sight. 1 

He insists on the duty of training the body to be the obedient 
servant of the spirit, and he makes practical service of our 
neighbours an essential part of spiritual religion. The fol 
lowing summary is given at the end of one of his latest tracts : 

1. Keep this world pure, so that no uncleanness may at 
tach, within or outside, to the physical body, the senses, mind, 
food, raiment, dwellings, roads, bathing-places and so forth. 
Prevent the adulteration of food in every form. 

2. Be " equal -sighted " to sons and daughters, and educate 
them equally ; secure equal rights to man and woman. Looking 
on all individuals as God and your own soul, cherish them, so 
that want and suffering may come to none. 

3. Let each, to the extent of his power, lovingly, in God s 
name, make offerings in the fire of things fragrant and sweet, 
such as clarified butter, sugar, etc., and help and encourage 
others to do so. This purifies the air, secures timely rain and 
abundant crops. Such is God s law. 

4. His name is the mantra, Om Sat guru. Let every man 
and woman call upon Him by inwardly repeating this name. 
By His favour all will attain the fourfold objects of desire, 
religious merit or ethical perfection, possessions on earth, en 
joyment and salvation. 

5. Light or the sun and moon is His expression. Let all 
men at the rising and the setting of light with love and rever 
ence bow down with folded hands and adore Him who is light, 
craving forgiveness of sins. 

When you perceive the true nature of light, you will under 
stand all phenomena of life and movement, such as birth and 
death, eclipses and the waxing and the waning of the moon. 

6. Knowing Him to be all-comprehending and complete, 
keep your hearts well established on Him. 2 

1 Take Heed unto Yourselves, 5. 2 A Word in Season, 22-23. 


Christian influence is very distinctly visible in his teaching 
at several points, notably in his attitude to idolatry, his free 
dom from the grip of transmigration, and his conception of the 
equality of man and woman. 

2. A number of intelligent people in Calcutta still confess 
his influence; the Isamoshipanthls are the outcome of the 
teaching of one of his disciples ; 1 and a new sect has 
sprung from his teaching in Assam. 2 The Kacheris are a 
Burma-Tibetan race scattered throughout Upper Assam. 
One branch of the Kacheris are known as the Mech tribe. 
The word Mech is simply a corruption of the Sanskrit word 
Mleccha, which means " barbarian," " unclean," " foreign." 
There is a good deal of unrest up and down the country ; and 
the Mech tribe, having grown in knowledge and intelligence 
during recent years, very naturally dislike their tribal name. 

Shortly after Sivanarayana s death, a member of this tribe, 
Kali Charan by name, went to Calcutta and met some of his 
followers. He picked up the teacher s main ideas, and carried 
away one of his Bengali books with him, Sar Nityakriyd, i.e. 
"Essential Daily Duties." When he reached Assam, he 
taught the new doctrines as a means of changing the status 
of the tribe. He received a ready response, and the movement 
grew apace. He teaches the people that by accepting the new 
teaching they become Brahmas, or, as they pronounce it, 
Bormhos. He means they will become Brahman, God. 
Those who follow him call themselves Bormhos instead of 
using the old name Mech. They do their best to follow the 
teaching of Sar Nityakriyd, but they do not understand it well. 
They are setting themselves up as a caste, at least thus far 
that they will not eat with others. They have neither temples 

1 P. 156, below. 

2 All my information about this Assamese movement I owe to the Rev. 
A. C. Bowers of Goalpara, Assam. There is a brief mention in Census of 
India, 1911, vol. i, 125. 


nor idols, but worship fire, earth, air, water and sun in a spot 
prepared for the occasion. These are supposed to be God. 
They offer fruits and vegetables, and sacrifice certain sweet- 
smelling substances in fire. 

Kali Charan is their leader. He has some half a dozen 
chelas, disciples, who assist him. They use the Bengali litera 
ture published by Sivanarayana s disciples in Calcutta. They 
are aiming at the economic development of the tribe, and 
therefore are collecting money for the erection of a technical 
school, shops and such like. They say that there are about 
two thousand families in the movement, but that is probably 
an overestimate. In any case it is now losing ground. 

LITERATURE. Indian Spirituality or the Travels and Teachings 
of Sivandrdyana, by M. M. Chatterji. London, Luzac, 1907. Amrita 
Sagara (the teaching of Sivanarayana in Bengali), edited by M. M. 
Chatterji, Calcutta, Sanyal & Co., 1911, Rs. 2. 


In 1886 a movement called Sadharana Dharma arose in 
Madras, and has continued active until to-day. The adher 
ents of Sadharana Dharma declare their belief in Paramatman, 
or the Supreme Self, his government of the world and of indi 
viduals, and the possibility of realizing him by the develop 
ment of one s moral or physical powers and the use of them for 
the good of humanity ; and they promise to work for their own 
progress and the advancement of humanity. The following 
sentences come from the prospectus of the organization : 

The Common Path (Sadharana Dharma) is open to people 
of any creed. Those who profess other faiths need not dis 
claim them when they adopt Sadharana Dharma. Sadharana 
Dharma aims not to establish uniformity but unity in variety 
throughout the different cults and sects of India, and by and 
by of the whole world. 


In 1909 this organization was included in a wider body 
called the Vedic Mission. This new organization has two 
divisions, Vedic Dharma and Sadharana Dharma, the former 
purely Hindu, the later for everybody and anybody. For a 
time they were affiliated with the Bharata Dharma Maha- 
mandal, 1 but its orthodoxy was too stiff for the Vedic Mission. 
The following sentences allude to that fact : 

We take this opportunity of informing the public that our 
Mission has nothing to do with so called Hindu orthodoxy and 
priesthood. Nothing short of thorough religious reform based 
on "Vedic monotheism" will satisfy us. 

We do not want to please those orthodox people that may be 
indifferent or opposed to the spread of Sanskrit and Religious 
Education as well as the right kind of spiritual knowledge 
among the non-Brahmin castes and the depressed Classes. 

The work is as follows : 

The Mission has three branches of work, viz., (i) Educa 
tionalfor spreading secular and useful religious knowledge 
among the masses, (ii) Medical pertaining to the Ministry of 
Healing (the sick in body and mind), and (iii) Literary in 
cluding the study of comparative Mythology, Theology and 
Philosophy. The Mission advocates the cause of Vedic Reli 
gion and philosophy. 

They have what they call a Vedic Mission College for training 
preachers and teachers, and they publish a good deal of litera 

The leaders are Pandit G. Krishna Sastrl and an Australian. 
There is a branch in Delhi, under Svami Sivaganacharya. 
Work is also being done in Australia. I find it impossible to 
make out how much is being done. 

The movement seems to stand nearer the Arya Samaj and 
givanarayana s teaching than anything else. 

*P. 316, below. 



A Muhammadan, who shall be nameless, has written a 
little book which it is perhaps kindest to regard as the product 
of a diseased mind. It is worthy of mention merely as another 
indication of the present state of affairs in India. Its folly 
may also serve to relieve my sober narrative. It is an attempt 
to fuse Islam, Christianity and Hinduism. A pantheistic 
theology and transmigration are mingled with Muhammadan 
ideas and diluted Christian ethics. The writer calls himself 
the Holy Ghost, the very God and such like. Like Sivanara- 
yana, he proposes one language and one Scripture for all men, 
and also a universal religious conference. From that there 
might emerge a universal religious empire. Constantinople 
would be the centre of this empire ; the English would be its 
guardians ; and the Promoter himself would be the spiritual 
teacher and head of the whole ! 

We now turn to a group of movements which have one strik 
ing feature in common, namely, their use of the person of 
Christ. They are a peculiarly interesting and instructive 
group ; for two of them are Muhammadan in origin, and two 
are Hindu. 


i. The first is a very successful and combative sect which 
arose in the Panjab in the eighties, largely as a reaction from 
the striking success of a Christian mission in the Central 
Panjab and from the fierce onslaught of Dayananda and his 

In the village of Qadian x in the Gurdaspur district of the 
Panjab, there was born, about 1838, in an ancient Muhamma- 

1 I am indebted for most of my information about this sect to Dr. Gris- 
wold of Lahore. See his pamphlet, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and his article 
in The Moslem World for October, 1912. 


dan family which had long been known for its attachment to 
the mysticism of Islam, viz., Sufiism, a boy called Mirza 
Ghulam Ahmad. Very little is known about his youth or 
education ; so that it is not possible to trace the growth of 
his mind, as may be done in the case of Dayananda. He began 
to teach about 1879, and djed in 1908. 

2. The whole movement rests on his personal claims. He 
declared himself to be the Christian Messiah, the Muhamma- 

Vi i -. -**~^~**-S*~ -i_--^^-v_ *> "^-.- --->_ -s.^-w- 

dan Mahdi, and the final avatdra or " Incarnation " of the Hin 
dus. In one of his latest utterances he said, 

My advent in this age is not meant for the reformation of 
\ the Mohammedans only, but Almighty God has willed to bring 
J about through me a regeneration of three great nations, viz., 
^Hindus, Mohammedans and Christians. As for the last two I 
^am the promised Messiah, so for the first I have been sent as 
an Avatar. 1 

The last claim, to be Hindu avatdra, was made for the first 
time towards the end of his life, and has had no results. He 
spent his life in trying to prove himself the Mahdi of Islam as 
well as the Christian Messiah, in seeking to shew that in him 
Christianity and Islam unite and culminate. 

The conception is rather an unusual one for a Muslim ; for, 
according to ordinary Muhammadan belief, the Messiah and 
the Mahdi are distinct persons; 2 and the common expecta 
tion is that the Mahdi will be a man of blood, a character 
which it would be impossible to combine with Christ. The 
Mirza gets over this last difficulty by declaring that the 
traditions which speak of the Mahdi as a man of blood are all 
forgeries, that the Guided One (i.e. the Mahdi) is to be a man 
of peace. Thus, the controlling idea of his conception of him 
self as a prophet is the character and work of Christ. It 

1 Review of Religions, November, 1904, p. 410. 

2 Yet some groups assert that Jesus is the only Mahdi that will ever 




seems almost as if he had first come to believe himself to be 
the Messiah, and had then added the idea that he was the 
Mahdi as a sort of inference from his position in Islam. In 
any case, nearly the whole of his apologetic is built up with 
the object of proving himself the Messiah. With that, then, 
we begin. 

He does not profess to be Jesus Christ returned in propria 
persona. He claims to be the fufilment of the prophecy of 
the Second Coming, on the ground that he has come in the 
spirit and power of Jesus. In order to make this claim seem 
reasonable, he uses two series of arguments. 

A . He first sets about proving that Christ did not die on the 
Cross, rise from the dead, and ascend to Heaven. 1 He ac 
knowledges that, if Jesus really died, rose, and went to heaven, 
then Christianity must be true, and he himself must be an 
impostor : 

If Christ was in reality exalted in bodily form alive to 
heaven, then there is no need of further controversy, and my 
claim to be the promised Messiah is in vain. The reason is 
that my claim is based upon the natural death (wafat) of the 
Son of Mary. 2 

He avers that, while Jesus was truly crucified, He was taken 
down from the cross seemingly dead, but really in a swoon, 
recovered from His wounds, came to India, lived for many 
years and finally died in Cashmere like any ordinary mortal. 
The materials he uses to establish these propositions are as 
follows : 

a. He revives the old swoon theory of the death of Jesus, 
citing as confirmation the facts, that He was on the cross for 
only a few hours and that His legs were not broken. He also 
uses the phrase, "Why seek ye the living amongst the dead ? " 

1 He asserts that the Gospels were deliberately corrupted by Christians. 

2 Griswold, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, 5. 


and urges that the appearances of Jesus to His disciples after 
the crucifixion are those of a living man and not of a disem 
bodied spirit. Christ s own use of the experience of Jonah as 
a parallel to Himself is pressed into service. As Jonah was 
alive in the whale s belly, so Jesus must have meant that He 
Himself would be alive in the tomb. 

b. He cites the so-called Gospel of Barnabas, a mediaeval 
Muhammadan forgery, as a witness that Jesus did not die on 
the cross. 

c. He asserts that over a thousand medical books, Jewish, 
Christian, Parsee and Muhammadan, describe the Marham-i- 
Isd, or Ointment of Jesus, and extol its powers. He asserts 
that after three days Jesus recovered from the swoon, and 
that the disciples applied this wonderful ointment to His 
wounds with such success that, within the space of forty days, 
He was entirely healed and ready for foreign travel. 

d. In 1887 a Russian, named Nicolas Nojtovitch, travelled 
through Cashmere to Leh in Ladak and spent some 
time in friendly intercourse with the Buddhist Lamas of the 
monastery of Himis. Seven years later, he published a book 
in which he declared that the Abbot of the monastery had 
brought out and read to him an ancient manuscript, accord 
ing to which Jesus, in the interval between His visit to the 
Temple of Jerusalem at the age of twelve and his baptism by 
John, travelled from Palestine to India, and studied under 
the Jains, Buddhists and Hindus of those days. The book 
appeared in French and in English and made a considerable 
stir both in Europe and India for some time. In an article 
in TJie Nineteenth Century for October, 1894, Max M tiller, who 
saw clearly that the tale was false, suggested that M. Noto- 
vitch had been so persistent in trying to get information that 
the Lamas, having nothing better to give him, had invented 
the story to satisfy him. But Prof. J. Archibald Douglas of 
the Government College, Agra, was inclined to think that 


Max Miiller was too rash in concluding that the whole story 
was false, and therefore used his hot-weather holiday in 1895 
to take a journey to Ladak in the hope of finding the Ms. 
But when he reached the monastery and told his tale, the in 
dignation of the Abbot knew no bounds. No such Ms. is in 
the library, nor indeed in Tibet anywhere. The whole story 
was an impudent lie. Professor Douglas described his journey 
in The Nineteenth Century for April, 1896 ; and M. Nicolas 
Notovitch was recognized to be an unscrupulous adventurer. 
Yet many Hindus and Muhammadans still make use of his lies. 

The prophet of Qadian sets forth this false story of a journey 
to India undertaken by Jesus before He began His ministry as 
proof that He travelled to India after His crucifixion. Could 
futility proceed to greater extremes ? 

e. The meaning of the Ascension, he argues, is that Jesus 
was separated from his disciples in order to preach in Afghan 
istan and Cashmere, the inhabitants of which countries, he 
avers, are the ten lost tribes. 

/. In Khan Yar Street, Srinagar, Cashmere, there stands a 
tomb, perhaps a couple of centuries old, known to the people 
of the vicinity as the tomb of Yus A saf. Clearly it is the tomb 
of some obscure Muslim saint. There is no tradition at 
tached to the building. 

The prophet maintains, however, without adducing the 
slightest evidence, that it is the tomb of Jesus, that Yus is a 
corruption of Yasu, which he equates with Jesus, and that 
A saf, coming from the Hebrew asdf, to gather, designates Him 
as the " Gatherer " of the ten lost tribes of Israel. 

g. Lastly, he asserts that Christianity is spiritually dead, 
and argues that, if Jesus had really risen from the grave, and 
ascended to heaven, to reign there in spiritual power, His 
Church would exhibit His energy and life. Hence we can 
infer that He did not rise. 

It ought to be noticed that, in denying the Ascension of 


Christ, the Mirza is a heterodox Muslim ; for the Muhamma- 
dan belief is that God took Him to heaven, that He is now 
there, and that He will return at the end of the world to slay 
the Antichrist. 

B. Having thus in his own way set Christ aside, he proceeds 
to give positive arguments in support of his assertion that he 
is the Messiah himself. 

a. As the Old Testament prophecy of the second coming 
of Elijah was fulfilled in John the Baptist, who was not Elijah, 
so the New Testament prophecy of the second coming of Christ 
will be fulfilled, not by a personal return of Jesus, but by the 
appearance of one coming in the spirit and power of Jesus. 

b. In the Koran Christ s prophecy of the coming of the Com 
forter is referred to. The Greek word in John 16, 7 is para- 
cletos, advocate, defender, comforter. Muhammad seems to 
have got this word mixed up with the similar Greek word 
peridytos, which means famous, and took it as a prophecy of 
his own name, which, whether in the form Muhammad or 
or Ahmad, means praised, glorified. Hence the words of the 
Koran, 1 

And remember when Jesus the son of Mary said, "O children 
of Israel ! of a truth I am God s apostle to you to confirm the 
law which was given before me, and to announce an apostle that 
shall come after me whose name shall be Ahmad ! " 

Our prophet could not fail to seize upon this text, despite the 
fact that his own name is not Ahmad but Ghulam Ahmad, i.e. 
the servant of Ahmad (Muhammad). He uses it, as several 
other self-styled prophets of the name of Ahmad have done, as 
a definite prophecy of himself. 

c. He bases another argument on the doctrine of the millen 
nium taught in the Apocalypse. Counting by lunar years, 
he divides the time since the appearance of Jesus into two 

* Sura, LXI. 


millenniums, and makes his own appearance the beginning of 
the third. The first is the millennium of the devil s imprison 
ment, during which time Muhammad appeared. The second 
is the millennium of the devil s freedom, marked by the declen 
sion of Islam and a frightful growth of evil. The third, 
which the new Messiah introduces, is the millennium of the 
Kingdom of God. 

d. He draws out a great many parallels between Jesus and 
himself. There is first the political parallel: the Indians 
under British rule are in very much the same condition as the 
Jews were under the Romans. Next comes the moral and 
religious parallel : the corruptions of India to-day are in many 
respects like the corruptions of Palestine in the time of Christ. 
Thirdly, he describes himself as a divinely appointed media 
tor between God and man, a true intercessor for man, and a 
perfect image of God. On the ground of these parallels he 
claims that his mission is altogether like the mission of Christ. 

e. He also claims that he is able to prove the truth of his 
Messiahship by miracle. The only facts seriously put forward 
as miracles are certain prophecies which he made. 

It is said that he predicted the death of no less than one 
hundred and twenty-one persons. Of these we need refer only 
to two. He predicted the death of Pandit Lekh Ram, his chief 
antagonist in the Arya Samaj. The man was murdered soon 
afterwards, under circumstances which gave rise to the strong 
suspicion that it was the deed of a Muhammadan who had 
managed to become intimate with the pandit on the pretence 
of being an enquirer. Again, he predicted that his Christian 
antagonist, Deputy Abdullah Atham, would die within the 
space of fifteen months. Precautions were taken by Mr. 
Atham s friends to protect him from possible assassination, 
and he outlived the time assigned to him. These prophecies 
went on for some time ; but they proved so mischievous and 
dangerous that, on the 24th of February, 1899, the Govern- 


ment of the Panjab issued an order, ordering him to cease 
making such prophecies. The prophet, under grave pressure 
from the Government, solemnly promised : 

(1) To refrain from publishing any prediction involving 
the disgrace of any person, or in which anyone should be repre 
sented as an object of God s displeasure. 

(2) To refrain from publishing any challenge to appeal 
to God to indicate by the signs of His displeasure, such as dis 
grace, etc., the party in a religious controversy which is in the 

(3) To refrain from publishing any writing purporting to 
be an inspiration, the object of which can be reasonably taken 
to be the disgrace of any person, or the representing of him as 
an object of the Divine wrath. 1 

He also predicted the birth of sons to certain friends, but, 
unfortunately, fulfilment did not always follow. Sometimes 
there was no birth at all, sometimes the sons turned out to be 
daughters, to the disgust of the parties and the discomfiture 
of the prophet. 

In 1898 he published a pamphlet called, A Revealed Cure for 
the Bubonic Plague, in which he declared the Marham-i-Isd, or 
Ointment of Jesus, mentioned above, to be a perfect remedy 
for bubonic plague, on the ground that it had been "prepared 
solely under the influence of divine inspiration." Hakim 
Muhammad Husain of Lahore was the manufacturer of the 
ointment. Unfortunately, the Government again interfered 
with the action of his " divine inspiration," and prohibited 
the exploitation of the specific. 

He also prophesied that his people would be immune from 
pestilence without plague inoculation. 

His own death from cholera in 1908 formed a fitting climax 
to this series of fraudulent impostures. 

/. His claim to be the Second Adam is another of his argu 
ments for his Messiahship. Dr. Griswold writes : 2 

1 Akhbar i Amm of Lahore, March 17th, 1899. 2 Pp. 6-7. 


At the close of the sixth day, God created the first Adam. 
But one day is with the Lord as a thousand years. Therefore 
at the close of the sixth millenium or the beginning of the seventh, 
the second Adam is to appear. We are now at the beginning 
of the seventh millenium, if we reckon according to the lunar 
year, which is the inspired mode of reckoning ; and so the time 
is fulfilled for the second Adam to be manifested. Where is the 
Second Adam to appear ? "In the East and not in the West," 
says the Mirza Sahib; "for from Gen. ii. 8 we learn that God 
had put the first Adam in a garden eastward. It is therefore 
necessary that the second Adam should appear in the East, 
in order to have a resemblance with the first in respect of his 

g. Towards the end of his life he began to claim that he was 
greater than Christ : 

I swear by the Lord . . . that the words expressing my 
dignity revealed from God . . . are far more weighty and 
glorious than the words of the Gospels relating to Jesus. . . . 
My superiority lies in being the Messiah of Muhammad, as 
Jesus was the Messiah of Moses. 1 

He also began to carp at the character of Christ, accusing Him 
of drunkenness, lack of philanthropy and several other such 

He has not so much to say in proof that he is the Mahdi, 
yet a couple of arguments may be noted. 

i. There is a saying traditionally ascribed to Muhammad 
which runs : 

What will be your condition when the Son of Mary shall 
descend among you, and your Iman from you? 

Clearly the Messiah and the Mahdi are here regarded as dis 
tinct personalities, the Messiah coming from heaven, the 
Mahdi arising among Muslims. Hence the Mirza translates 
the passage : 

1 P. 15. 



What will be your condition when the Son of Mary shall 
descend among you? Who is he? He will be your Iman, 
who will be born from among you. 

This opens the way for his own claims. 

ii. He cites the passage from the Koran quoted above 1 
as a proof that he is the Mahdi, declaring himself the Buruz 
or spiritual reappearance of Muhammad. 

3. Apart from these personal claims, his teaching is an at 
tempt to find, amidst the irresistible inrush of Western edu 
cation and Christian thought, a middle path between im 
possible orthodoxy and the extreme rationalism of Sir 
Syed Ahmad Khan. 2 He is opposed to jihad, i.e. Muslim 
religious warfare, and the spirit of the ghdzi, or religious 
fanatic, as well as to a bloody Mahdi ; and he condemns 
tomb- worship. He says the Koran teaches that slavery ought 
to be gradually abolished. He says polygamy, the veiling of 
women and divorce were permitted by Muhammad to pre 
vent worse evils. 

His sect, which, in organization, is like a Samaj, has its 
headquarters in Qadian, and is called the Sadr Anjuman-i- 
Ahmadiya, or Chief Society of Ahmad. 

His success shews that he was in some respects an able man, 
but one can scarcely say more than that. The reasoning 
which we have given above as advanced in support of his 
claims is a fair sample of his teaching and of his thought. One 
might illustrate his scholarship by the puerilities he advanced 
to shew that Arabic is the mother of all languages. He was 
probably self-deceived in the matter of his Messiahship rather 
than a conscious impostor, but one can scarcely believe him 
to have been honest in all his pretensions and assertions. 

He was as eager for disputation as Dayananda himself, and 
as violent and unscrupulous in controversy. He was a most 

1 P. 142. 2 P. 92, above. 


vehement opponent of Christianity. He did not shew the 
genius for practical organization that his great rival did, but 
he founded a high school and a few other institutions. He 
edited two papers, one in the vernacular, the Al-Hakam, and 
one in English, the Review of Religions, and published large 
quantities of tracts, open letters, challenges, memorials to 
Government and such like. The sect has its own regular 
weekly services and its conferences, like the Samajes. 

The likeness of the movement to Persian Babism is very 
striking, and well worth study. 

The whole movement is outside orthodox Islam. Dr. 
Griswold writes : 1 

In the numerous fat-was, which Muhammadan Associations 
all over India have issued against the Mirza Sahib, the strong- } 
est words of denunciation are used. Thus he is called Kafir 
unbeliever, Dajjal Anti-Christ, mulhid heretic, murtadd 
apostate, kazzab liar, be-iman faithless, dag habaz deceit 
ful, etc., etc. With such epithets as these is the certificate 
filled, with which Muhammadan orthodoxy has dismissed the 
Mirza Sahib from its fellowship and service. 

His successor, Hakim Nur-ud-Din, was not a man of the 
same strength and capacity as the founder, yet the sect went 
forward steadily. Nur-ud-Din died recently, and the com 
munity has fallen into two very hostile parties. 

The sect has also a branch in Shorapur in the Deccan. 
A man named Abdulla has been the leader there for many 
years, but he now declares that he himself is the prophet ; 
so that his followers have fallen into two companies, one 
loyal to the original founder, and one loyal to Abdulla. 
Feeling runs very high; orthodox Muslims oppose both 
parties ; and three lawsuits are pending against Abdulla. 

4. A member of the sect, Mr. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, a 

1 Pp. 26-7. 


Pleader of the Chief Court, Lahore, began a Muslim Mission 
in England some two years ago. He settled first at Richmond, 
but has recently gone to Woking, where he has his office close 
by the Muhammadan Mosque erected by the late Dr. Leitner, 
formerly Principal of the Oriental College, Lahore. The chief 
means whereby Mr. Kamal-ud-Din carries on his propaganda 
is a monthly magazine called Muslim India and Islamic Re 
view. Lectures are also delivered from time to time in differ 
ent places. A new English translation of the Koran is being 
prepared for use in England. Recently, Lord Headley, who 
for years has proclaimed himself to be more in sympathy with 
Islam than with Christianity, formally accepted Muhamma- 
danism in connection with the mission. This accession has 
caused great rejoicing in the Panjab. Two Moulvies have 
been sent to England from Delhi to strengthen Mr.Kamal-ud- 
Din s hands. 

Naturally orthodox Muslims do not quite like to have 
Islam represented in England by such a heterodox group as the 
Ahmadlyas. A pamphlet has recently been written by the 
Secretary of the Anjuman-i-Himayet-i-Islam l in Lahore, 
which violently denounces the mission. 

LITERATURE. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, by Dr. H. D. Griswold, 
Ludhiana, The American Tract Society, 1902, one anna. The 
Ahmadlya Movement, by Dr. H. D. Griswold in The Moslem World 
for October, 1912. Also The Review of Religions, an English monthly 
published in Qadian, and many little pamphlets. The Unknown Life 
of Christ, by N. Notovitch, London, Hutchinson & Co., 1895. 


This short-lived organization sprang from the Ahmadlya 
movement, but was so different in its teaching that it must 
be kept distinct. 

1 See below, p. 347. 


In 1890 Mr.JE.J._S,._White, a Government servant, then 
stationed at Kurnool in South India, who was keenly inter 
ested in Muhammadanism, paid a visit to Qadian and was 
greatly influenced by the prophet. But he could not follow 
him completely ; for as he said in a letter to a friend of the 
writer recently : 

My view of Islam has always been that it is the mere per 
verted continuation of the Nazarene or Ebionite sect, the im 
mediate community of disciples of our Lord, which contained 
the descendants of the Lord s brethren and His own disciples, 
and maintained the pure doctrine derived from Him, having 
nothing to do with the Gentile churches founded by Paul, 
in the midst of which it became a heresy and was crushed out 
of existence. 

So he started the Nazarene New Church, seeking to mingle 
what he considered to be the purer elements of both Islam and 
Christianity in a Unitarian doctrine. He published a book of 
prayers in Urdu, so that Muhammadans might be able to un 
derstand their prayers, which is scarcely possible while they 
use the Arabic. He also maintained the freedom of women 
and the duty of allowing them to join, under restrictions, in 
the worship of the mosque. A Eurasian named Snow became 
a Muhammadan in Hyderabad, Deccan, in 1892 and became 
one of White s helpers. In 1893 a number of pamphlets were 
issued. In these we find it stated that members of the Naz 
arene New Church should adhere strictly to the Law of Moses 
"as perfected by our Master Jesus." They are to accept the 
Gospel of Matthew and some other parts of the New Testa 
ment, but not the writings of John or Paul. They are rec 
ommended to read the Koran as a perfect exposition of the 
Unitarian doctrine. Pilgrimage to Nazareth is enjoined as 
one of the principal duties. The following sentence occurs in 
one of these pamphlets : 


The Church in India is directed by an apostle who, until 
the Spirit shall send one more worthy, is John White in the 
Blood of the Lamb. 

Snow was guilty of a good deal of abusive language with ref 
erence to Christianity. The founder, who is still alive and 
resides at Cocanada in South India, writes : 

The late Daud Khan Bahadur, head of the Kurnool family, 
and a few other Muhammadans were very sympathetic sup 
porters of the movement. After I left Kurnool I endeavoured 
to form a Nazariah or Qadiani Jamaat at Ellore, at Secunder- 
abad and in Madras, but nothing came of it. 

So the movement soon ended. 

The two Hindu movements which use the person of Christ 
are small groups, almost altogether confined to the common 


In a village in the Lahore district of the Panjab, Chet Ram 
was born about 1835. The family were Vishnuites by sect, 
and belonged to a class of shop-keepers and money-lenders. 
Chet Ram was uneducated, and almost illiterate. He could 
keep his shop accounts but that was all. He spent some two 
years in China, from about 1858 to 1860, as a camp-follower in 
the second Chinese war. When he returned, he settled down 
in his father-in-law s village Buchhoke, and kept a shop and 
sold opium and liquor. 

To this shop there came from time to time a Muhammadan 
ascetic of the Chisti order, named Syed Mahbub Shah. He 
was given to drink, and was often seen in the village in a 
dull intoxicated condition. Clearly, the man s teaching was 

1 All my information about this sect is derived from Dr. Griswold s pam 
phlet, The Chet Kami Sect, Cawnpore, Christ Church Mission Press, 1904. 
The references are to its pages. 


eclectic ; for he gathered Hindu as well as Muhammadan 
disciples, and he was accustomed to speak about Christ. Up 
to this time Chet Ram was an idolater. Then, probably 
when he was about twenty-seven years of age, he became 
fascinated by Mahbub. He became his disciple, and hence 
forward followed him everywhere, and served him with the 
utmost faithfulness. We have no record of what Mahbub 
taught him ; but it seems clear that he led him to reverence 
Christ and the Bible. 

Mahbub died when Chet Ram had been his disciple for some 
three or four years, probably about 1865 or 1867. He was 
buried at Buchhoke ; and, for three years, Chet Ram haunted 
the tomb, sleeping on it every night, or actually inside it, as 
tradition now goes. Then one night he had a vision of Jesus 
Christ, and received a command from Him to build a church 
on that very spot and to place a Bible therein. A simple 
Panjabi poem, ascribed to Chet Ram, describes the vision. 
We quote a few of the stanzas of a translation made by the 
Rev. G. L. Thakur Dass of Lahore : 

1. Upon the grave of Master Mahbub Shah 
Slept Sain Chet Ram. 

2. dear (reader) it was midnight, 

Full moon, stars were as hanging lamps ; 

3. Unique was that night, surpassing the shab qadr ; 
Rays were falling from the full moon. 

4. There appeared a man 

Whose description is without bounds ; 

5. A man came in a glorious form 
Showing the face of mercy ; 

6. His countenance beautiful as the full moon, 
No man could look at that beauty ; 


7. Glorious form, tall in stature and erect, 
Appeared as if a clear mystery of the Deity. 

8. Sweet was his speech, and simple his face, 
Appearing entirely as the image of God. 

9. Such a glory was never seen before, 

The coming of the Lord Himself was recognized in it. 

25. Afterwards I began to think, 

What was all this which Omnipotence did ? 

26. Then my soul realized 

That Jesus came to give salvation. 1 

The date of the vision must have been somewhere between 
1868 and 1870. From that time Chet Ram became, in his 
own way, a follower of Christ. He built a small church and 
placed a Bible in it, and began to gather disciples " in the name 
of Christ." He succeeded in inducing a number of men and 
women, both Hindu and Muhammadan, to attach themselves 
to him. He lived a wandering life, moving about the country 
with a number of his followers, everywhere proclaiming Jesus 
as Lord, and suffering much persecution from both Hindus 
and Muhammadans. He sought the friendship of Christians 
and missionaries in a general way, but did not join the Chris 
tian church. One Sunday in 1897, Chet Ram and his followers 
came to the American Mission Compound in Lahore; and 
both the Rev. C. W. Forman and the Rev. C. B. Newton 
give accounts of the appearance and the behaviour of the 
leader and his disciples. Mr. Newton went with them to 
Buchhoke, and saw the church. We have also a report from 
a missionary in Ludhiana of the year 1888. 

Chet Ram died at Buchhoke in 1894 and was cremated ; and 
his bones were buried beside his master s. 

* Pp. 4-6. 


Of Chet Ram s character Mr. Newton gives us a very pleas 
ing picture, though it is clear that he had but little knowledge 
of Christ: 1 

During my stay, I had an opportunity of observing Chet 
Ram s conduct and character; and certainly the case is a 
remarkable one, though the good in him is so obscured by 
superstition and ignorance, that one can scarcely call his 
case a very hopeful one. He manifests on all occasions a strong 
feeling of love and reverence for Christ, and undergoes perse 
cution and contumely for His name. His treatment of others 
is marked by a spirit of rare kindness and generosity. One 
day a faqir, a total stranger, from some distant place, came to 
the takyti, and told a story of his sufferings, having been robbed 
of some article of clothing. Chet Ram at once pulled off his 
own principal garment, and gave it to him. He never refuses 
appeals of this kind. 

He was no real student of the Bible. He was ignorant and had 
no desire to read. Sometimes his talk was quite incoherent. 

Chet Ram s daughter was appointed his successor and the 
head of his sect, while the leader was alive. She is an unmar 
ried woman, and is pledged to lifelong celibacy. She lives at 
the headquarters of the sect, which are now in Lahore. 

Just outside the Taxali Gate, Lahore, and at a distance of 
only two or three hundred feet from the Royal Mosque is a 
small garden thickly planted with trees and flowers and trailing 
vines and containing a tiny square building and several faqirs 
huts. The square building has one room, perhaps fourteen 
feet by ten, and contains certain relics of Chet Ram such as 
his bed and his Bible. In front of the building is a pole sur 
mounted by a cross. Such are the monastic headquarters 
of the Chet Rami Sect in Lahore. 2 

The only other leader whose name is known is one Munshi 
Nathu, who has been called the theologian of the sect. He has 
interpolated large pieces into Chet Ram s poem. 
1 P. 9. 2 P. i. 


The creed of the sect is quite short. It is engraved on a 
tablet over the door of Chet Ram s cell at headquarters. The 
translation is as follows : 

Help, O Jesus, Son of Mary, Holy Spirit, Lord God Shepherd. 
Read the Bible and the Gospels for salvation. Signed by 
Chet Ram and the followers. 1 

In this we note the recognition of the Trinity, the duty of 
reading the Bible and the belief that salvation is made known 
in the Gospels. 

The sect teaches another doctrine of the Trinity besides 
that contained in the above creed. They believe in the exist 
ence of Allah the Creator, Paramesvara the Preserver, and 
Khuda the Destroyer ; and they use this trinity to set forth 
the supremacy of Jesus. Allah represents Muhammadanism, 
Paramesvara Hinduism, and Khuda, who is the greatest of the 
three, is Jesus. Jesus is the true God. He is the giver of all 
gifts. All the Muhammadan prophets and saints and the 
Hindu gods and incarnations were sent by Jesus. He is the 
supreme ruler over all. He is the Son of God. The Father 
and the Son are of one nature. 

Now that Chet Ram is dead, his followers give him a very 
exalted place. They say he is not dead, but is present now 
and works in the hearts of his followers. As Hindus recognize 
their guru to be God, they consider Chet Ram to be Christ 
Himself. They praise Chet Ram as much as they praise 
Christ. They are accustomed to say : 

There is a God, if Chet Ram says so ; 
There is no God, if Chet Ram says no. 

After his cremation, his ashes were mixed with water and 
eagerly swallowed by his disciples. It is their veneration for 
their Teacher which keeps them from joining the Christian 


1 P. 13- 


The followers of Chet Ram are either householders or monks. 
When a man joins the community, there is a ceremony of bap 
tism. When a birth takes place, the creed is recited in the 
ears of the child, and also the names of the twelve Apostles. 
When a member wants to become a Chet Rami monk, he tears 
off his clothes, casts dust upon his head and thus becomes 
a monk. This is known as Earth-baptism. The monks get 
their living by begging ; and they are the only clergy of the 
sect. It is their business to preach the Gospel of Chet Ram. 
Like most modern Indian ascetics, they are addicted to the 
use of intoxicating drugs, such as bhang, charas, opium. 

As to the Chet Rami worship Dr. Griswold writes : J 

There does not seem to be any fixed form of worship among 
the Chet Ramis. One old faqir declared that for the enlight 
ened there is no need of religious worship. We have re 
ceived, said he; worship is for those who have not received. 
I invited Munshi Nathu to attend our Church services in 
Lahore. He proceeded to tell me that all such worship is 
man-made worship. I have spent many hours at the Chet 
Rami Khanqah in Lahore, conversing with Munshi Nathu. 
He said to me on one occasion, This conversation of ours is 
worship: no other worship is needed. All Chet Ramis are 
supposed to own a Bible, and the few who can read doubtless 
read it. Ghulam Muhammad one day said to me: I read the 
Bible every day and especially on the Sabbath. I was just 
reading the first chapter of John s Gospel, when you arrived. 
The Chet Rami creed is repeated as an act of worship, and the 
Hymn of Chet Ram is chanted. There are some forms of wor 
ship which show decidedly the influence of Hinduism and 
Mohammedanism. At the Khanqah in Lahore are preserved 
with great care certain relics of Chet Ram. At evening lighted 
lamps are placed before the Cross and the Bible. On one oc 
casion I noticed the evening worship of two Chet Rami women. 
They came and bowed themselves to the ground first before 
the cross and then before the Bible, and so went their way. A 

1 Pp. 21-2. 


considerable use is made of amulets. Charms are made and 
inscribed with the Chet RamI Creed and with the names of the 
Twelve Apostles, and hung about the neck. 

Most of the members of the sect are poor, illiterate people. 
They are a small body, probably less than a thousand in num 
ber. There is a good deal of brotherly feeling amongst them. 
Yet caste remains among them, and Hindu converts do not 
mix with Muhammadan converts. The duty of philanthropy, 
and of the endurance of persecution, has been carefully taught 
them, but, apart from that, there does not seem to be much 
emphasis on morality. They frequently carry a long rod 
surmounted by a cross. On the horizontal bar of the cross 
there is usually inscribed the creed of the sect. 


A group of Hindus in South Behar, mostly cobblers and 
masons, have formed a new sect and call themselves Isd- 
moshipanthis, i.e., the Jesus-Messiah-followers. 1 Besides these 
simple people, there are a few educated ascetics who are iden 
tified with the sect. They study the Bible, and lay a good 
deal of stress on the teaching of Jesus. They do not class 
Christ with the incarnations of Vishnu ; yet they have mixed 
up His life with the story of Krishna. Christ s death is of 
more importance to them than His resurrection. They meet 
for worship on Fridays. It is said that the sect is the result 
of the teaching of one of the disciples of Sivanarayana Para- 
mahamsa. 2 I am told they number two to three thousand. 

The four movements which close this chapter are grouped 
together, because, though they have all accepted a good 
deal that is new, the system in each case is very distinctly 

1 My informant is Mr. B. C. Sircar, M. A., one of the National Secretaries 
of the Y. M. C. A. in India. 2 Above, p. 129. 


Hindu, and the worship of the teacher as God is prominent 
in all. The first pair are closely related in the elements they 
borrow from the West and in the claim that their teaching 
is scientifically trustworthy and verifiable. 


i . The word satsang seems to come from the Sikhs, among 
whom it means "a company of pious people." The phrase 
Radha Soami cannot be explained apart from the history of 
the sect. It is dealt with below. 1 

In order to secure a reliable account of this society and its 
teaching, a few paragraphs are here transcribed from a manual 
of doctrine published by the second guru. 2 

1. The Radha Soami faith derives its name from its original 
Founder, the Supreme Being, Radha Soami, who appeared in 
this world in human form and designated Himself Sant Satguru 
or perfect Saint or true Guide and Preceptor, and preached holy 
doctrines to sincere enquirers of Truth for the deliverance 
of their spirit from the bondage of body and its surroundings, 
as well as from the pains and pleasures of this world, and for 
the ultimate admission of their spirit into the Holy Presence 
of the Supreme Being after traversing and breaking through 
the trammels and impediments in the material spheres. 

2. The Holy name Radha Soami has been given out by the 
Supreme Being Himself. It resounds in splendid refulgence 
in the higher spheres, and can be heard within themselves 
by those who perform devotion by practising Surat Sabd Yoga 
according to the instructions given by the Supreme Being 

4. This Holy name R5,dh5, So3,mi signifies both the Supreme 
Being and the original Spirit or Sound current (or Word) which 

1 See p. 167. 

2 Radha Soami Mat Prakdsh. The numbers of the sections are retained. 


emanated from His Holy Feet, and which is the prime factor 
and principal agent in the whole creation. 

6. The three degrees or grand divisions, comprised in the 
entire creation, according to Radha Soami faith are : 




Pure spirit, uncontaminated with matter, exists in the 
first grand division. Here the Supreme Being reigns over 
absolutely spiritual life. This, the purest possible form of 
life, has no desire but to love and serve the Supreme Being. 
The joys the very existence of this pure spirit-life are 
derived from the Supreme Being who is the Ocean of spirit, 
love and joy. Nothing concerning this degree is known or 
has been known to the founder of any religious creed. It com 
prises six sub-divisions and is called the Dayal Desh or the Re 
gions of Mercy. 

7. The second or Spiritual-Material degree or grand division 
is entirely free from all worldly passions and desires of the lower 
order. Likening the Supreme Being to an Ocean, the president 
of the second degree is a tide from that Ocean. He is a kind 
of Viceroy who rules over all life existing in the space com 
prised in the second and third grand divisions committed to 
his care. As its name indicates, the spiritual-material degree 
contains both spirit and matter. But matter is, comparatively 
speaking, pure and is subject to, and controlled by spirit. Life 
here is very pure, and, though clothed in pure material forms, 
spirit predominates. This degree also comprises six sub 
divisions and is called the Brahman(Ja or the regions of Uni 
versal Mind and pure matter. 

8. In the third or Material-Spiritual degree matter predomi 
nates over spirit. Life is composed of spirits wholly clothed 
in coarse matter. Having quite forgotten the higher abode 
from which they originally sprang, the spirits here have ac 
quired carnal desires and passions. This also comprises six 


sub-divisions and is called the Pinola or the regions of Individual 
Mind and coarse matter. 

9. This degree is dominated over by a wave emanating from 
the Supreme Being and flowing through the tide which has 
already been likened to a Viceroy. This wave or current may, 
for want of a better name, be called a Governor who presides 
over the Material Universe and controls matter. 

12. The Supreme Being, as already said, is unknown. The 
Spirit or the Viceroy who presides over the second degree, is 
the Lord God of the Bible: he is the Sat or Sacchitanand or 
Brahman of the Vedanta, the Nirvana of the Jains and the 
Buddhists and the Lahut of the Mahomedan Saints. The 
Spirit or Governor who rules over the third degree is the Brahma 
or Parmatma or God of most religions in the world. 

13. The entire creation below the first degree is composed 
of two parts, namely, spirit which is all good and pure, and 
matter which is always more or less bad. Man is a drop from 
the Ocean, that is, the Supreme Being. This drop of pure 
good spirit is so mixed with matter that it becomes in bondage 
thereto, and unless aided by a Superior Spirit is always liable 
to yield to temptation and deteriorate or sink down in matter. 

1 6. There are two streams in our solar system ; the one ever 
improving, the other always deteriorating. The spirits of 
the first of these streams pass from plants through the lower 
creation till they reach man; they then become angels or 
heavenly spirits and ultimately merge into the Supreme Being 
or remain in His Presence. Maintenance of individuality in 
the changes later than man depends upon the practice of de 
votion according to Surat Sabd Yoga or the union of the Spirit 
with the Word the Word being the emanation from the 
Supreme Being. If such devotion be not practised, the spirit 
loses its previous individuality and becomes merged into a 
lower stage fit for its reception. A devotee, when merged into 
the Supreme Being, can assume his individuality at pleasure. 
Such a being is called a perfect Sant, a Special and Beloved 


Son of the Supreme Being. But the spirits who belong to the 
deteriorating stream are wholly under the influence of matter. 
At every change they get lower and lower until they reach the 
lowest form in the creation. 

17. The Supreme Being has Special and Beloved Sons 
called Sants and Param Sants, who are full of mercy and love 
and who descend periodically upon the earth to deliver spirits 
from the bondage of matter and to carry them to the Presence 
of the Supreme Father. 

1 8. Any one desirous of reaching the Supreme Being must 
search for a Sant Satguru (incarnation of the Supreme Being) 
or a Sadh Guru (one who has reached the top of the second 
grand division) and invoke His help, and receive instructions 
from one of these Superior Guides, as to the manner of his 
devotion and procedure. 

21. The name of the Supreme Being is Radha Soami. He 
is impersonal, but personal in the second and third divisions 
and when He manifests Himself through humanity as Sant 
Satguru. His attributes are mostly met with in the Sant 
Satguru, who might be called an incarnation of Sat Purush 
Radha Soami, the true Supreme Being. 

22. The deliverance of spirit from the bondage of body, 
senses and mind, and its gradual ascension and eventual en 
trance into the first or highest division by the practice of Surat 
Sabd Yoga is perfect salvation according to Radha Soami faith. 

24. Radha Soami faith is not built on the basis of scriptures 
appertaining to Hindu or any other religion, but on the pre 
cepts or instructions of the Supreme Being Himself, Who ap 
peared on this earth in human form and graciously performed 
the functions of a Sant Satguru for the benefit of degraded hu 

25. The sound heard internally is a current which has orig 
inally emanated from the Supreme Being and is the means not 


only of concentrating the will but also of raising the spirit to 
the source from which it emanated. 

27. It must be clearly understood that by S abd or Word 
or internal voice is meant the spirit or life current which en 
livens every part of the body and is the main principle or es 
sence which supports life in and gives activity to every being 
or body in the whole creation or Universe. 

28. At present the spirit of man is residing in the third or 
material-spiritual region, and has, therefore, to do all the work 
here by means of the senses and the mind which are mediums 
between it and the material objects, and consequently, as a 
natural result, its power has become quite hampered. But as 
soon as it begins to ascend, the powers which are now lying 
dormant, become active and the spirit acquires ultra-material 
or higher powers. 

29. The method for taking back the spirit to its Supreme 
source is first to concentrate at the focus of the eyes the spirit 
and mind which are diffused in our body and in a manner tied 
to external objects by desires and passions, and next to com 
mence its journey homewards by attending to the internal 
sound, or in other words, by riding the life or sound current which 
has originally emanated from the Supreme source. 

30. The current which has been instrumental in having 
brought it down here must naturally be the only true path for 
its return to the original source, and whoever finds this current 
is on the path of emancipation. This current which is the spirit 
and life current, is called in the Radha Soami faith, Sound 
($abd) or Word or Holy Name. 

34. To approach the Supreme Being, there is absolutely no 
other means except the practice of Surat abd Yoga under the 
guidance of a Sant Satguru or a Sadh Guru, or a sincere lover 
of the Supreme Being who has received instructions from, and 
is helped in his practice by one of those Superior and Holy 


35. Prayer is necessary to obtain blessing and mercy to 
help man s perfect salvation, but it must be offered from the 
inmost heart and not confined to mere utterance. It must 
be also backed up by works of faith and charity performed 
through love and affection for the Supreme Being. 

37. In following this mode of devotion the following restric 
tions are made with regard to diet and mode of living. No 
intoxicating drink or drug and animal food is to be taken and 
immoderate indulgence in any desire is to be avoided. Animal 
food is forbidden on account of its producing a material tendency 
in human nature, and intoxicating drink is detrimental to a 
calm and natural state of the brain and the nervous system. 
Other public and private duties should be carried on as usual. 

38. The moral code appertaining to Radha Soami faith 
is comprised in two sentences : 

(1) All acts including spiritual practice which tend to free 
the spirit from matter and raise it towards its source are good 

(2) All acts which tend to degrade the spirit by weighing it 
downwards deeper and deeper into matter are bad works. 
Again any action done with a view to help the needy from un 
selfish motives is good work; and the contrary, bad work in 
this world. 

147. A member of Radha Soami faith is strictly forbidden 
to divulge the secrets or mention to any one (even to a fellow 
member without express permission) the glory and wonder of 
the higher creation he sees now and then within himself, or the 
happiness and extraordinary joy he experiences during his 
practice, or the special Mercy, Grace and Protection extended 
to him from time to time on important occasions by the Supreme 
Father and Sant Satguru. 

2. One fact stands out clear from the above statement of 
doctrine that the guru occupies a place of supreme impor 
tance in the sect. He is the centre of the whole ; for he is not 
only the source of revelation but the essential means of salva- 


tion. Thus the sect ought to have an unbroken succession of 
gurus. There have been already three, and a fourth is now 
required. The following facts are taken from a book by the 
third guru. 1 

The first guru was an Agra banker of Kshatriya caste, born 
in 1818. His name seems to have been Tulsi Ram, but he is 
better known as Siva Dayal Saheb. He came of a pious 
Vishnuite family, and had his guru, whose name was Tulsi 
Saheb ; yet, according to the sect, he did not learn any of the 
deep things from his guru, but brought his divine knowledge 
with him from the other world. He is said to have had the 
power of sending people into samddhi, 2 that is, a sort of reli 
gious trance, and of enabling them to see visions. He pub 
licly proclaimed his doctrine in 1861. He left two books, each 
named Sdr Bachan, i.e. " Essential Utterance," one in poetry 
and one in prose. He died in 1878. His ashes lie in a sacred 
tomb in the Radha Soami Garden, Agra. 3 His titles are 
Rddhd Soami Dayal and Sodmijl Mahdrdj. 

The second guru was born in Agra in 1828, in a family of 
Kayastha caste. He was a government official, serving in 
the Post Office, and finally rose to be Postmaster-General of 
the United Provinces, and received from Government the 
title Rai Bahadur. He was thus known as Rai Saligram 
Saheb Bahadur. Of his early life and his relations with the 
first guru, whom he met in 1856, Max Miiller 4 writes : 

It seems that the horrors of the mutiny in 1857 made a deep 
impression on his mind. He saw thousands of men, women, 
and children butchered before his eyes, the rich reduced to 
poverty, the poor raised to unexpected and undeserved wealth, 
so that the idea of the world s impermanent and transient 
nature took complete possession of him and estranged him from 
all that had formerly enlisted his interest and occupied his 

1 Discourses on Radha Soami Faith. 3 See below, p. 166. 

2 See p. 189. 4 Ramakrishna, 20-1. 


energies. From his very youth, however, his mind had been 
filled with religious and philosophical questions, and he is said 
to have devoted much time from his youth onward through all 
the years of his official life to the study of the Sacred Scriptures. 
No wonder therefore that after witnessing the horrors of the 
mutiny and its suppression, he should have wished to flee 
from this den of misery and to get happiness unalloyed and 
permanent where alone it could be found. He went to consult 
several Sannyasls and Yogis, but they could not help him. 
At last one of his colleagues at the Post Office recommended 
his elder brother as a spiritual guide who could be trusted. 
For two years he attended his lectures, compared his teaching 
with that of the Upanishads and other holy writings, and then 
became his devoted pupil or Chela. During his stay at Agra 
he allowed no one else to serve his master. He used to grind 
the flour for him, cook his meals, and feed him with his own 
hands. Every morning he could be seen carrying a pitcher of 
pure water on his head for the Guru to bathe in, which he fetched 
from a place two miles distant. His monthly salary also was 
handed over to the Saint, who used it for the support of his pupils, 
wife and children, and spent the rest in charity. 

In 1878, on the death of the guru, he became head of the sect, 
and retained his position until his death in 1898. His samadh, 
sacred tomb, is at Pipalmandi, Agra. He left behind him 
several works in poetry called PremaBani, " Love Utterances," 
zMPremaPatra, " LoveLetters," and a little manual in English 
called Radhd Soami Mat Prakash, " Exposition of Radha Soami 
Doctrine," from which our exposition of the teaching of the 
sect is taken. He also wrote several small treatises in Hindi 
and Urdu. It seems certain that the sect owes a great deal to 
this man s clear intellect and power of expression. The first 
guru may have been the source of the leading ideas and of the 
religious practice of the sect ; but one can scarcely doubt that 
the order and precision which now mark its teaching were the 
fruit of Saligram s vigorous and orderly mind. His title is 
Huzoor Maharaj. 


The third gum was a Brahman of Bengali extraction, named 
Brahma Sankar Misra. He was born in Benares in 1861, 
quite near the place where Kablr taught. He received an 
English education, and was a Master of Arts of Calcutta Uni 
versity. He held a position in the Accountant General s 
Office, Allahabad. He joined the Satsang in 1885. In 1898 
he became the head of the sect. In 1902 he came to the con 
clusion that it was necessary, for the health of the Satsang, 
to give it a well-expressed constitution and a definite organiza 
tion. He created a Central Administrative Council, and had 
a Constitution and By-laws drawn up. He left a few poems 
in Hindi and he wrote two brief expositions of the faith for the 
Census Officers of the Panjab and of the United Provinces. 
When he died, he left, in manuscript, a volume of three hun 
dred pages, called Discourses on Radhdsoami Faith, which con 
tains much more sound than sense. He left also a few letters 
in English which have been published under the title Solace 
to Satsangis. He died in 1907. In Benares, where he died, 
they have purchased a famous house and garden. It used to 
be called Nandeshwar Kothi, and at the close of the eight 
eenth century it was used as the residence of the British judge 
and magistrate of Benares. Here in 1799 Mr. Davis, the 
judge, was attacked by a body of native troops, who had just 
killed the British Resident. He placed himself at the top of a 
narrow staircase leading to the roof, and succeeded in defend 
ing himself, his wife and two children with a spear, until he 
was rescued by a regiment of cavalry. The garden is now 
called the Radha Soami garden. A fine building has been 
erected in it, which is used for the worship of the sect. It is 
a large hall with a gallery and a raised platform. At the back 
of the platform there is the tomb of the third guru, and on it 
there hangs his photograph, so that the faithful may look 
upon his face and adore him. His title is Maharaj Saheb. 

Since his death the community has been unable to agree 


as to who is to be the next guru. Until 1913 there were two 
prominent candidates, Mr. Sircar Kamta Prasad of Murai, 
near Ghazipur, and Mr. Madhava Prasad Saheb, who is the 
Chief Superintendent in the Accountant-General s Office, 
Allahabad. The former died hi the autumn of 1913 ; so that 
Mr. Madhava Prasad Saheb has now a far better chance of 
being chosen ; but there are groups who are unwilling to follow 
him, and at least two other candidates. 

3. Thus far we have relied on the literature published by 
the sect, but there are many important facts which do not 
appear in the official books. For this further information I am 
indebted to members of the sect or to people who were mem 
bers but are no longer so. 

The first guru was a man who had had no Western educa 
tion and did not know English. We may compare him with 
Ramakrishna. 1 His wife, whose real name I have not dis 
covered, was a woman of great piety and goodness. They 
acted together as religious teachers, although the guru was 
probably the greater of the two. There was no organization, 
no sect, in those days. Disciples came to them and received 
instruction ; and the photographs of both the man and his 
wife were given them to contemplate during their private 

The guru belonged to a Vaishnava family, as we have al 
ready seen. His connections were with the Krishnaite gurus of 
Brindaban. From time to time he and his wife dressed up as 
Krishna and Radha to receive the worship of their disciples. 
The second guru also got himself up as Krishna from time 
to time. Thus the guru-worship of the sect was probably 
borrowed unchanged from the practices of the gurus at Brinda 
ban. In February, 1914, 1 was able to visit the Radha Soarni 
Bagh (i.e. Garden), some four miles outside Agra, where the 
tomb, samddh, of the first guru is. I was shown over the prem- 
1 Below, p. 188. 


Wife of the first guru 


The first guru 


The second guru 

The third guru 


ises by Mr. Tola Ram, who was educated at Roorki and 
served Government as a civil engineer for years, but has now 
retired, and is both architect and builder of a fine new marble 
structure being erected over the samadh. I was greatly in 
terested to find two photographs hanging on the front of the 
samadh, a woman and a man. I asked my guide who they 
represented. He answered that the woman was Radha and 
the man Soami, and then explained that they were the first 
guru and his wife. He also said that Radha was not the 
woman s real name. 

So far as my information goes, it was the second guru, Rai 
Saligram Saheb Bahadur, guru of the sect from 1878-1898, 
who organized the Satsang, systematized the teaching and 
gave it its modern character. I have also been told that the 
sect owes its name to him. It is most noteworthy that this 
extraordinary name, Radha Soami, bears four significations 
in the sect. It is the name of God Himself ; it is the name 
which the first guru bears, as the perfect incarnation of God ; 
it is the sound which the spiritual sound-current (Sabda) makes 
as it rings through all regions ; and it is the name of the sect. 
It is necessary also to realize that the real meaning of Radha- 
svami is Krishna, as Lord of Radha (his cowherd mistress 
in the latest cycle of the myth) ; and that Soami is only a 
curious phonetic misspell for Svaml. How comes it that this 
name stands for God in a sect which rejects the whole Hindu 
pantheon ? We can only conjecture, until some scholar ex 
plores the Hindi writings of the first guru ; but it almost seems 
as if, in the first instance, it had been applied to the first guru 
and his wife, as they shewed themselves to their disciples in 
person and in portrait, and as they still appear on the samadh, 
and also in our reproduction of their portraits, 1 and had then 
been applied to God, of whom the guru was held to be the 
full and perfect revelation. The third guru quotes a Hindi 
1 Plate VII, facing this page. 


couplet, said to be by Kabir, which is supposed, by transposi 
tion, to say that the name of God is Radhasvaml ; 1 but the 
couplet is clearly a forgery : it nowhere occurs among the 
writings of Kabir, published or unpublished ; the language 
is of a later date than Kabir ; and the forger was a bungler, 
for, when transposed according to rule, the name reads 
Arddhsvami, and not Radhasvaml. 2 

The cosmogony is curiously like the Buddhist scheme, 
which also has three planes or worlds, the Formless World, the 
World of Form, and the World of Desire, each sub-divided 
into sections. We may also compare the Theosophic scheme, 
which sets forth reality as existing in seven distinct planes. 

Most of the conceptions of the sect are Hindu, and of these 
the majority are Vishnuite. God, the World, and the Soul 
are recognized as realities ; the soul is an amsa, or portion of 
God ; the spirit-current (Sabda) , which streams from the Su 
preme and is the source of all things, corresponds to the sakti, 
or energy of God, in the Vaishnava and Saiva systems. Trans 
migration is retained. The doctrine of immortality shews 
traces of the Vaishnava conception, that the soul retains its 
personality for ever; but the incarnation doctrine differs 
very seriously from the Vaishnava idea ; for it is men who 
become incarnate and not God Himself. 

4. The practice of the sect is summed up in the phrase 
Surat Sabd Yoga, that is, union (yoga) of the human soul (surat) 
with the spirit-current or word (Sabda). The methods em 
ployed are unknown ; for they are imparted by the guru to 
the disciple under a vow of secrecy ; but it is clear that they 
are occult practices of a hypnotic nature such as are used in 
Theosophy. There are hints in the literature that the initiate 
sees wonderful lights and extraordinary scenes, and wins 

1 Discourses of Radhasoami Faith, 162. 

2 1 owe this criticism to my friend the Rev. Ahmad Shah of Hamirpur, 
U. P. 


supernatural powers. Instructions about the practice are 
given partly in meetings of the sect, in which the guru delivers 
lectures, partly in private, when he receives his disciples in 
dividually or in small groups. The guru gives his photo 
graph to each disciple, that he may have it before him during 
his religious practice. The prescribed exercises (sadhandni) 
ought to be practised from two to three hours every day. 
As to the powers of the Sant Satguru Dr. Griswold writes : 

The incarnate Sant Satguru, even while on earth, has his 
citizenship in the Radha Soami Dham (realm). He is not 
controlled by the forces and currents which come from low 
levels of earthly lives; for, "as in the state of somnambulism, 
all the functions of the body and senses are performed from a 
plane higher than that which the soul occupies in the wakeful 
state, so all the actions of the incarnations of the True Creator 
are regulated by the currents coming direct from the Supreme 
Being himself." The Sant Satguru who has attained to the 
highest stage of being might leave the body at any time and 
return to his own proper sphere ; but he stays on earth a cer 
tain time for the salvation of believers. This is of his grace. 

We are told in the books that the sect recognizes no temples, 
shrines or sacred places, except those sanctified by the pres 
ence of the guru or his relics : that the practice of the sect 
can be carried on anywhere. This is quite true ; for the ini 
tiate can sit down, with the photograph of his guru in front of 
him, and practise his meditations and his exercises wherever 
he pleases, so long as he does it in secret. But for their meet 
ings the members of the sect prefer to have their own buildings 
and the presence of either the living guru or the relics of one 
who has passed away. There are three relic-shrines already 
in existence, each called gurudwdra (the guru s chamber), two 
in Agra and one in Benares. Each guru s photograph hangs 
on his tcmb. 

In the daily meetings of the sect portions of their own 


sacred books or of the writings of Kabir and other Hindu 
saints are read. There is a prayer, hymn-singing and an ad 
dress by the guru, if he is present, by some other one, if he is not 
present. Besides these common practices, there is the adora 
tion of the guru or of his portrait ; J but of that I have received 
no detailed description. Several things are clear, however. 
We are told in the books that each member brings to the meet 
ing with him a wreath of flowers, which he places round the 
neck of the guru. The wreath is afterwards returned to him, 
filled with the spiritual power of the guru. Everything that 
has touched him is charged with his sanctity and influence. 
All relics from his body, such as clothing, hair, nail-parings or 
water in which he has washed his feet, are sacred and precious. 
There are some very disgusting practices connected with this 
idea, certain products of his body being actually eaten or 
drunk by his followers. When he dies, his body is burnt; 
and his ashes, mixed with water, are swallowed by the faith 
ful. The place where he resided is considered holy ; and con 
templation of his image is held to be contemplation of the 
Supreme Being. 

Radha Soamis are taught that there is no need for them to 
give up their life as householders and become monks. 2 In 
deed, the lives of the three gurus themselves show what is 
the ideal. Yet, in spite of this, in the Constitution of the Sat- 
sang drawn up in 1902, a set of rules is given for the enrolment 
and conduct of Radha Soami monks. 3 

There is one side of Radha Soami influence which is very 
curious, their want of touch with modern movements. The 
gurus discourage study. The members shew no national 
feeling whatsoever, nor any serious interest in the life of the 
country. If any member were to accept a public position of 

1 Cf. the Deva Samaj, p. 179 below, and Theosophy, p. 261, below. 

2 Radha Soami Mat Prakdsh, 51. 

3 Discourses of Radhasoami Faith, 329. 


any prominence, he would be looked down upon. Economic, 
literary or educational progress is no part of the ideal of the 
sect. This neglect of public affairs is what takes the place 
of the old ascetic renunciation. 

5. The points that attract new members seem to be, first of 
all, the secrecy of the religious practice of the sect, with 
the hope connected therewith of gaining supernatural wisdom, 
enlightenment and power. The living guru, believed to be 
an incarnation of God in the fullest possible sense, is a distinct 
attraction. Within the meetings of the sect there is a good 
deal of freedom. Men of all castes mix freely together, and 
even on occasion, dine together in secret ; and there is no strict 
separation of men and women. There is thus a sort of free 
happy fellowship within each group of Satsangis, as they call 
themselves. Finally, membership in the sect does not in 
volve any breach with one s own religion. The fact that a 
man is a member of the sect is often kept secret. As in The- 
osophy, you may be a Radha Soami and yet remain a Hindu, 
a Muhammadan or a Christian. People are taught that all 
religions are true, and that the Radha Soami faith is an extra, 
fit to be the complement of any religion, and supreme over 
them all. Membership is thus made quite easy. Yet it is 
definitely stated that the religion is for all, and that outside 
the Satsang there is no salvation. 

There is no proselytism in the sect, except in so far as the 
individual member may express his high appreciation of the 
guru to his personal friends. One Satsangi tried to make me 
realize how many miracles had accompanied the gurus through 
out their lives. They teach only people who wish to be taught ; 
and they would rather win a few intelligent men than crowds 
of common people. 

6. The affinities of the theology of the sect stand out quite 
clear. Most of the teaching is purely Hindu ; it stands nearer 
to Vaishnavism than to any other part of Hinduism, and is 


perhaps most closely allied to the teaching of Kabir. This is 
reflected in the practice of the sect. While they profess to 
find all truth in the books of their own gurus, they do use the 
writings of certain Hindu and Muhammadan saints, and 
amongst these they give Kablr the highest place. But, though 
the system is in the main Hindu and old, there are modern 
elements. There is an attempt to place religious leaders in 
the various spheres of the universe, according to their merit ; 
and there are a number of Christian elements in the teaching. 
The unknown Supreme is constantly called the Heavenly 
Father; His will is frequently emphasized; and Satsangis 
are taught to seek His approbation. The Sant Satguru, who 
alone can reveal Him, is called His beloved Son. God created 
man in His own image. Love is emphasized in the teaching 
of the sect in such a way as clearly to reveal its Christian 
origin; for it goes far beyond the old ideas connected with 
bhakti. Works of faith and charity, the spirit of service and 
prayer, are laid down as necessary duties. Finally, the forms 
of worship in the regular services, apart from the adoration 
of the guru, are Christian. 

In this connection, however, nothing is more noteworthy 
than the many points in which Radha Soami and Theosophi- 
cal doctrine and practice coincide. The most important 
items are : the unknowable Supreme, the spheres and their 
regents, the human revealers of religion, the emphasis on the 
Word, reincarnation, the use of methodical exercises (sadh- 
andni) of a hypnotic character for the development of the 
spiritual powers and of the photograph 1 of the guru in med 
itation, the worship of gurus, the supernatural powers of the 
gurus, the claim that the teaching of the sect is scientifically 
accurate and verifiable in every particular, esoteric teaching, 
secret practice, and all the talk about astral and higher 
planes, adepts and such like. 

1 See above, pp. 169, 170; below, p. 261. 


LITERATURE. Rddhd Soami Mat Prakash, by Rai Salig Ram 
Bahadur, Benares, 1896, for private circulation, 10 annas. 
(This is by far the best presentation of Radha Soami Doctrine in 
English.) Discourses of Radhasoami Faith, by Pandit Brahm Sankar 
Misra, Benares, The Satsang, 1909. This very verbose volume 
has a Prefatory Note which contains details about the three gurus. 
For the other works of the gurus, see above, pp. 114, 115, 116. The 
Radha Swami Sect, by the Rev. H. D. Griswold, Ph. D., Cawnpore 
Mission Press. 


i . Siva Narayana Agnihotri was born in a Kanauji Brah 
man family in 1850, in a small town in the Cawnpore district 
of the United Provinces. When he was sixteen, he entered the 
Government Engineering College at Rurki, and got the degree 
of Overseer after some years of study and service there. Be 
fore the close of his course, he came greatly under the religious 
influence of the Curator of the Instrument Depot of the Col 
lege, and through him became convinced of the truth of the 
Vedanta philosophy as taught by Sankaracharya, namely, 
that God is impersonal, and that the human spirit is God. 
In 1871, while he was acting as a master in the College, both 
he and his wife underwent a ceremony of initiation and be 
came disciples of the Curator-guru. He also began to see 
clearly the need of religious and social reform. Hence he ban 
ished idolatry from his household and set his wife free from 
the restrictions of the zenana. 

In 1873, now 23 years of age, he was appointed Drawing- 
master in the Government School, Lahore ; and in that city he 
has lived ever since. Here he at once came under the influ 
ence of the Brahma Samaj, with its doctrine that God is essen 
tially personal. Both he and his capable wife became active 
Brahma workers. In 1875 he was appointed honorary minis 
ter of the Lahore Samaj, and soon became well known in the 
city as a man of character and a good speaker. Wherever 


he went, large audiences gathered to hear him. The Arya 
Samaj was planted in Lahore in 1877, as we have already 
seen, and very soon rose to great influence. The following 
year, Agnihotri began a long-continued crusade against its 
false pretences about the Veda. In January, 1880, he attended 
the anniversary meetings of the recently founded Sadharan 
Brahma Samaj in Calcutta ; 1 and he and three others were 
ordained as the first missionaries of the movement. 2 For two 
years longer he gave all his leisure to work for the Lahore 
Samaj ; but in 1882 he gave up the post of Drawing-master 
in the Government School, in order that his full time might be 
devoted to missionary labour. We are also informed in the 
recent literature of the Samaj that on his birthday, the 2oth 
of December of the same year, he took his great vow, ex 
pressed in a Hindi couplet, the translation of which runs : 

The supreme object of my Life is to serve the world by 
establishing the kingdom of Truth and Goodness on this earth 
and by destroying what is opposed to them ; may I spend my 
whole life for the fulfilment of this supreme object ! 

In any case his full powers now began to make themselves 
manifest. He proved effective as a writer as well as a speaker. 
Books, pamphlets and tracts poured from the press. For a 
little time a sort of simple copy of the Salvation Army, called 
the Brahma Sena or Brahma Army, was used as an auxiliary. 
He made his influence felt in every section of public life in 
Lahore. But it was not long before difficulties arose within 
the Samaj. His methods displeased the quieter members; 
and his forceful will and autocratic temper led to constant 
friction with the other leaders. He wanted to rule. He would 
often be heard to say, "I am born to command not to obey." 
Most of the members were apprehensive that he would soon 
set up as the authoritative guru of the Samaj. The way his 
followers now express this is: "His life-mission was unique 
i P. 55, above. 2 BBS., II, H4- 


and quite different from the object of the Brahmo Samaj." 
A split became inevitable. 

2. Accordingly, he seceded from the Brahma Samaj, taking 
with him a fair number of followers, and organized, on the 
Queen s Jubilee day, 1 February i6th, 1887, a new society to 
be known as the Deva Samaj. The name was clearly chosen 
in order to distinguish the new society from the old, and yet 
to indicate its close relationship to it. Brahma is an adjective 
formed from the word Brahman, the name of the supreme God 
of the Upanishads. Deva is the ordinary Sanskrit word for 
one of the innumerable gods of the Hindu pantheon, but is 
probably used in the name of the society as an adjective. So 
that the whole name means the Divine Society. A creed was 
soon issued, which showed that the aims and beliefs of the new 
community were very similar to those of the Brahma Samaj ; 
yet there were significant differences. The Deva Dharma, 
the divine religion of the divine society, is a special divine 
dispensation, 2 and so is distinct from the Brahma Dharma. 
The doctrines are Brahma doctrines; yet the beginnings of 
a guru-doctrine are perceptible ; and, within a few years, the 
leader could say of himself, "My mission is unique" ; "I am 
free from sin" ; 3 and "I am a ship of hope and a leaven for 
elevating nations." The work of the Samaj ran along the 
usual lines: only Agnihotri dabbled in spiritualism. 

In 1893 he became involved in a libel case which, dragging 
on for five long years, greatly hindered the work of the Samaj. 
During this period Agnihotri s mind underwent a very serious 
change ; and at its close a new period opens. 

3. From 1898 down to the present day the Deva Samaj has 
been an atheistic society, working for educational and moral 
ends. Yet the members attribute to the guru such a supreme 
place in human evolution and give him such a position in their 

1 As celebrated in India. 2 Cf. Keshab s idea, above, p. 55. 

3 Dharma Jivan, 4th October, 1892. 


own minds and devotional practice that we are fully justified 
in saying that, practically, he is regarded and worshipped as a 
god. Indeed, they call him sattya deva, a real god. 1 The lit 
erature of the earlier period was at once withdrawn from cir 
culation as far as possible ; a new creed, quite different from 
the previous one was promulgated; and, for several years, 
there was no public preaching or disputation. The literature 
of the sect is now sold publicly and many of the meetings are 
public ; but the devotional meetings and the worship of the 
guru are held in private. The chief book of the Samaj is called 
the Deva Sdstra, or Divine Scripture, and the teaching, Deva 
Dharma, or Divine Religion. 

4. The teaching of the sect is that the universe consists of 
matter and force, which are uncreated and indestructible, 
and which manifest themselves in four forms, inorganic, vege 
table, animal, human. Man s life or soul is the builder of 
his body, the most essential part of his existence. The soul 
develops if it possess the necessary capacity and unite with the 
right evolutionary environment ; but if it lacks the capacity 
or fails to grasp the environment, it degenerates ; and if de 
generation is not checked, it will become extinct. A soul that 
rises to the Complete Higher Life is thereby raised above the 
danger of degeneration and extinction. The soul then sur 
vives in the form of a refined human body. 

Good action leads to development, evil action to degenera 
tion. When a man reaches a certain height of development, 
he is entirely beyond the danger of degeneration and dissolu 
tion. In order to reach this higher life, it is necessary to unite 
with one who has already risen to these heights. The guru 
of the Deva Samaj has risen to the highest possible heights, 
and thus is the true environment for souls eager for progress. 
He is an unprecedented manifestation of the powers of the 
highest life. 

1 He is so called in a letter sent me by the Secretary of the Samaj. 


Pandit S. N. Agnihotri 


Since matter and force are the only reality that exists, 
there is no such thing as God or gods. Every conception of 
God that has been held among men is purely imaginative, 
and consequently harmful. 

The teaching about the guru himself is the key to the whole 
life of the sect. He is the highest result of the evolution of 
the universe. He has evolved the highest powers that any 
being on this earth has ever had. Nay, he possesses in his 
soul all the powers of the Complete Higher Life and is its 
highest ideal. Hence many of the titles used of Hindu gods 
are conferred upon him. He is Mahamananiya Pujaniya Sri 
Deva Guru Bhagavan (the Most Reverend, Most Worshipful, 
Most Exalted, Divine Teacher and Blessed Lord). Since he 
became the god of the Samaj, he has tended to withdraw into 
seclusion. He no longer figures in the public life of Lahore. 
He seldom instructs any one except his own disciples, very 
seldom gives outsiders interviews, and delivers addresses only 
in meetings of the Samaj. Much is made of the vow he is 
said to have taken in 1882. Much is also made of his 

The guru teaches and practises spiritualism. Being the 
summit of all evolution, he possesses powers whereby he is 
able to see into the other world, and to have personal deal 
ings, through mediums, with souls there. He states that many 
of his own dead relatives have become convinced of the truth 
of his teaching, and have found salvation through him. He 
delivers addresses to spirits who assemble from time to time 
to hear him at the Samaj building. 

Transmigration is denied. This is one of the elements 
of Brahma teaching which have been carried over into the new 

5. Those who wish to become members of the Samaj have 
to take the following ten vows. 1 

1 A Dialogue about the Deva Samaj, 14-16. 



1. I shall not commit the following four sins relating to m> 
profession or calling : 

(a) I shall not take bribe. 

(b) I shall not weigh or measure anything more or less, 
with a motive of cheating some one. 

(c) I shall not substitute one thing for another with a view 
to cheating some one. 

(d) When certain remuneration for a certain work or price 
of a thing has been agreed upon, I shall not dishonestly pay less 
or take more than is due according to the agreement. 

2. I shall not commit theft. 

3. I shall not withhold anything borrowed by or entrusted 
to me. 

4. I shall not rob any person of his money, land or any other 
article by force or fraud. 

5. I shall not gamble or do any act which involves loss or 
gain of money or property through betting. 

6. I shall not lead a useless life when I am able to do some 

7. I shall not commit adultery, polygamy, or any unnatural 


8. I shall not use, prepare, cultivate, buy or sell, or give to 
any person any intoxicant such as Wine, Opium, Bhang, To 
bacco, Charas, Chandoo, Cocaine, etc., for the purpose of in 

9. I shall not eat flesh or eggs myself, or give or direct 
others to eat flesh or eggs or anything made thereof. 

10. I shall not kill any sentient being, barring certain right 

When any one wants to become a member of the Samaj, he 
writes a letter to the guru, putting into it a catalogue of all 
his past sins, telling how he has been brought to a better 


mind by the guru, and promising to give them up. From time 
to time thereafter he writes in a similar strain. All these 
documents the guru preserves most carefully. 1 

6. The guru is seldom present at the regular devotional 
meetings of the Samaj, but his photograph hangs before the 
congregation. An image would be used; but hitherto the 
cost has stood in the way. When the people have assembled, 
all stand up, and the conductor offers a tray of flowers to 
the portrait, 2 or hangs a garland round it. All then bend 
low in adoration. The stotra, a Sanskrit hymn in praise 
of the guru, is then sung by all, and a Hindi translation is 
read by the conductor. All then prostrate themselves before 
the portrait. When all are seated, the conductor offers 
prayer to the guru. Then a hymn is sung. This is often 
followed by a sermon, or a meditation on the virtues of the 
guru, and another hymn ; or a passage is read from the Deva 
Sastra. The conductor or some other one then closes the 
meeting with another prayer. The burning of incense and 
the waving of lights (drati) before the portrait were originally 
parts of the service, but they have been discontinued. When 
the guru himself is present, the service centres in him ; and 
when members call on him, they prostrate themselves at his 
feet. His birthday is the anniversary of the Samaj. 

7. The methods of the Samaj are practically all Christian. 
Many of them the guru brought with him from the Brahma 
Samaj; the rest have been copied direct from Christian 
missions. The Samaj has missionaries, and also lay-workers, 
both men and women. They have two High Schools, a num 
ber of Primary Schools, a School for the Depressed Classes, 
and a Training College for mission workers, called the Bikdsh- 
dlai, or House of Development. A good deal of attention 
is given to female education. They have a successful Board- 

1 Cf. p. 182, below. 

* Cf. the Radha Soamis, p. 169 f., above, and Theosophy, p. 261, below. 


ing School for Girls at Firozepore, teaching up to the Matricu 
lation Standard. They do a little medical work, have two 
Widows Homes, and have held Industrial Exhibitions. They 
lay a good deal of stress on social reform, as we have already 
seen, and endeavour to do a little social service. They have a 
Temperance League and a Vegetarian League. 1 

Literature is much used in spreading the teaching of the 
Samaj. The guru s chief work is a Hindi book, the Deva 
Sastra, i.e., the Divine Scripture, which, he believes, is destined 
to eclipse all the sacred books of the world. The portrait 
of the guru which forms the frontispiece of the Deva Sastra is 
reproduced in the plate facing page 126. There are a few 
more books of some size in Hindi which expound the principles 
of their doctrine ; and there are a great many pamphlets in 
Hindi, Urdu, Sindhi and English. A series of schoolbooks in 
Hindi has been published. Four journals are published : an 
English monthly, called the Science-Grounded Religion, an 
Anglo-Sindhl monthly, called the Sindh-Upakdrak, an Urdu 
fortnightly, called Jiwan Tattva, and a Hindi monthly, called 
the Sewak, which is meant only for those belonging to the 

The Reports read at the Anniversary Meetings tell of steady 
expansion. 2 Lahore and Firozepore are the two chief centres 
of the work ; but members from Sindh, Baluchistan, the N. 
W. Frontier Province and the United Provinces attend the 
annual meetings. 

8. The sources and connections of the system stand out 
quite clear. The scientific elements are fairly prominent: 
the conceptions of life, seed, soil, growth, evolution, progress, 
degeneration, extinction, are scattered throughout the litera 
ture. Originally, the guru seems to have been considerably 
influenced by Drummond s Natural Law in the Spiritual 

1 All this may be found in the Dialogue about the Deva Samaj. 
2 ISR., XX, 258; XXI, 207, 257; XXIII, 235. 


World; but his later thought is drawn mainly from Spencer. 
Hinduism shews itself in the Samaj in the beliefs about the 
guru and in the worship, and lingers on in the practice of caste, 
though transmigration has been expelled, and in the stress 
laid on vegetarianism and on the preservation of animal life. 
The influence of Christianity is visible throughout, chiefly 
in the vigorous moral sense which characterizes the doctrine 
of salvation, and in the claim made in every report, that nu 
merous individuals have been saved from various forms of 
vice by the teaching of the Samaj ; 1 also in the rejection of 
transmigration, in the demand for social reform, and in the 
practical methods employed. The religious atheism of the 
Samaj reminds one of Comtism, but the position of the guru 
is distinctly Hindu. Curiously enough, his doctrine of con 
ditional immortality is not unlike that preached by the Rev. 
Edward White in London, shortly before the rise of the Deva 

9. All went fairly well with the Samaj until 1913, when the 
guru took two measures which have raised a storm. He 
appointed his own second son, Devanand, who keeps an ath 
letic store in Lahore, to succeed him. Naturally, Dev Ratan, 
who has been associated with him for twenty-four years, and 
for many years has been his right hand, did not think this 
quite the right appointment. In the second place he pub 
lished a book, called Bignan-Mulak Tattva Siksha, in which 
he declared himself the perfect ideal, the perfect object of 
worship, the perfect giver of life, perfection and salvation for 
all mankind. No one has been equal to him in the past ; no 
one will ever equal him in the future. The worship of all 
other beings, whether imaginary gods and goddesses or real 
men, should be abandoned as harmful. 

The consequence is that Dev Ratan, the one considerable 

1 See, for example, the Dialogue, 19. Cf. Madame Blavatsky s boasts, 
below, p. 438. 


man in the movement after the guru, has seceded from the 
Samaj ; and one of the sons of the guru, his brother-in-law, his 
sister-in-law, two graduates and some others have come out 
with him. The bulk of the members have, however, remained. 
The seceders have formed The Society for the Promotion of 
Higher Life. Their position is the old teaching without the 
guru. Meantime the guru has published the letters of confes 
sion 1 written to him by Dev Ratan in former years, and seeks 
to show from them what a bad man he is ; a proceeding 
which suggests many thoughts. What the outcome of all 
this will be no one can tell. 

LITERATURE. OFFICIAL : Devasastra, by S. N. Agnihotri, 
Lahore, Jivan Press, Rs. 5. (The chief scripture of the Samaj; 
in Hindi.) Dev Dharm, Lahore, Deva Samaj Office, price i as. 
(An account of the teaching of the sect, in English, in fifty pages.) 
A Dialogue about the Dev Samaj, Lahore, The Jivan Press, 1912, 
i an. (A brief account of the Samaj and its work.) CRITICAL : 
Pandit Agnihotri and the Deva Samaj, by Dr. H. D. Griswold, Lahore, 
1906. (A clear account of the Samaj.) A Lecture on Pandit S. N. 
Agnihotri and His Atheistic Propaganda, by Kashi Ram, Lahore, 
N. W. Indian Press, 1908. 


Two young Hindus, belonging to our own day, the one a 
Telugu, the other a Tamil, have each sketched a system and 
gathered a few disciples. Both have been deeply influenced by 
Christ ; yet, the main teaching of each is Hindu ; and they 
both wish to be worshipped as gurus. They are of no im 
portance as leaders, but their teaching may be worth notice 
as further evidence of the character of Indian thought to-day. 

i. The Telugu guru 2 is not quite ready yet to appear in 
public to expound his system. His thought, as it at present 
exists in his mind, seems to be fundamentally Hindu, but with 

1 P. 178, above. 

2 My informant is one of his disciples, whom I met in Madras. 


a good deal of Christianity worked into it. He declares that 
his system is for all men, and that he selects what is good 
from all religions. 

At present he seems to be a pantheist. The whole world 
is God, and we are part of God. God is not a Spirit. God is 
not Sat, Chit, Ananda, except in so far as the universe deserves 
these titles. God is non-moral. He has no will. He does 
not act. He does not listen to prayer, and does not receive 
sacrifice. God does not answer prayer : prayer automatically 
answers itself. 

He condemns idolatry entirely. 

He finds all metaphysics in the Rigveda. He acknowledges 
that Hindu mythology is absurd, and explains Brahma as 
sthula, i.e., the material world, Vishnu as antahkarana, i.e. 
man s inner faculties, and Siva as the first cause. He asserts 
that there is no mythology in the Rigveda. He is writing a 
Commentary on it. In his attitude to the Rik he stands very 
near Dayananda. 

He bids his followers concentrate the mind on certain words 
or phrases from the Rigveda (e.g. the Gayatri, the most famous 
of Hindu prayers), because he holds they are instinct with 
meaning. They are to concentrate the mind on that, until 
only one thought remains. He believes in the power of Yoga 
methods, but says they are dangerous. 

He calls Sarikara and Buddha great philosophers. He has 
not much respect for Muhammad. He acknowledges that the 
Gitd is not an utterance of Krishna. 

He says the world is eternal. He does not believe in the 
re-creation and destruction of the world. He believes in 
karma and transmigration ; but he does not seek deliverance 
himself at all ; nor does he admire men who seek deliverance. 
He desires rebirth, in order to work for the good of humanity. 
This is curiously like the attitude ascribed to the Bodhisattvas 
in Mahayana Buddhism. 


Moral law is made by man. What is best for society is 
moral. In moral action he would advise us to copy Jesus. 
He holds that the life of Jesus was entirely given up to doing 
good ; and he says that He died for men. He also declares 
that Jesus is now a living angel, who can answer the prayers 
of Christians. 

He urges his followers above all things else to philanthropic 
action. He also urges them to prayer and moral action. He 
insists on moral asceticism. 

He is a Brahman; yet he eats with Christians in secret. 
He is in favour of mixed marriages, even between people of 
different races. He is anxious to make Brahmans less con 
servative; but, as he has not yet appeared publicly as a 
teacher, he conceals his anti-caste tendencies. He is op 
posed to polygamy, but is not in favour of widow-remarriage, 
nor in favour of marrying girls after puberty. The age of 
the marriage of men ought to be raised. He is a married man 
with a family. He lays no stress on the monastic life, but 
makes working for humanity the prime thing. 

Though he has not proclaimed himself a public teacher as 
yet, he has gathered a number of friends around him and 
formed a sort of society. Weekly or fortnightly a meeting 
is held. He presides ; some one reads a paper in Sanskrit, 
and he comments on it. 

The disciples consider him worthy of divine honour. Each 
bows down individually to him. 

2. The young Tamil has been rash enough to publish a 
little book to explain his position. It is simply a rhetorical 
exercise, containing no systematic thinking. The elements 
contained in it are drawn mainly from the Saiva Siddhanta 
and from Christianity, but Vaishnavism is not quite neglected. 
The Christian elements are distinctly subordinate to the Hindu , 
and the need of the guru is one of the most prominent points. 
He describes, in a mystical way, his own meeting with his guru, 


whom he calls the Anointed, and to whom he attributes his 
conversion. His language throughout is modelled on the 
Bible; but in every case Christian truth is volatilized, so 
as to become equivalent to Hindu doctrine. Baptism, the 
Holy Ghost, Regeneration, the Kingdom of God, Eternal Life, 
and other such phrases are scattered about his pages every 
where ; and many texts are quoted from the Gospels ; but all 
are emptied of their real meaning. 




AT the beginning of our third chapter we noted the rise in 
India about 1870 of a new spirit, which generated many 
religious movements, roughly divisible into two series, one 
marked by defence of the old, tempered by reform, the other 
eager to defend the old in almost every particular. We deal 
with this latter series in this chapter. 


The earliest stirrings of the new spirit appeared in and 
around Calcutta. In 1872 Raj Narayan Bose, one of the 
leaders of the Adi Brahma Samaj, 1 delivered a lecture on The 
Superiority of Hinduism over all other Forms of Faith, 2 which 
attracted a good deal of attention. The very next year, the 
idea of the equality of all religions, which has become so 
closely associated these last thirty years with the defence of 
Hinduism, found organized expression at Barahanagar, a few 
miles to the north of Calcutta. Mr. S^rja.d^a_,^anurji, a 
Kulin Brahman, who had early turned to various forms of 
social service, and had become a member of the Brahma 
Samaj in 1865, established a religious association, which he 
called the Sddhdran Dharma Sabha, or General Religious 
Association, in which Hindus, Brahmas, Christians, Buddhists 

1 P. 46, above. 2 HBS., I, 248. 



and Muslims were allowed freely to express their own religious 
beliefs, so long as they condemned no one. The following 
is a description of its work : 

Its two main features were, first, a spiritual union, held 
every week, of the followers of various religions on the basis 
of commonly-accepted principles a union in which prayers 
and other spiritual exercises took place and were joined in by 
all; and, secondly, a platform for the preaching of diverse 
opinions by their advocates, a platform where the most perfect 
freedom and toleration were allowed consistently with brotherly 
feeling and general co-operation; for no one was allowed to 
vilify or ridicule the beliefs and practices of another. 1 

The work has died out at Barahanagar. But, within recent 
years, Mr. Banurji has started it again in Calcutta. The 
institution is named the Devalaya, or " Divine House." 2 The 
building is his own, and stands in the compound of the Sadh- 
aran Barhma Samaj. He has made over this property to a 
group of trustees, so that it may be used for the purposes 
described by the donor. It is most curious to note how sim 
ilar Sasipada s original idea is to those which, a few years 
later, were expressed by Ramakrishna, and later still, by 

We may also note that in 1873, at tne ver y ^ me wnen ne was 
starting his General Religious Association at Barahanagar, a 
group of Hindus formed in Calcutta the Sandtana Dharma 
Rakshini Sabha, or Association for the Defence of the Eternal 
Religion. They were anxious to found a Sanskrit School in 
the city to counteract modern tendencies. One of the reasons 
why Dayananda SarasvatI visited Calcutta was that he hoped 
to help this society. 3 A few years later the Hindus of the 
South began to move in the same direction, as we shall see. 

1 The Devdlaya, by S. N. Tattvabhushan, 19. 

2 Ib., 26. 

3 Swami Dayanand Saraswati, 28, Madras, Natesan. Cf . above, p.iog. 



But the man who really made these ideas current coin in 
India was a Bengali ascetic, known as Ramakrishna Para- 

i. Gadadhar Chatter ji 1 was born in the village of Kamar- 
pukurin the Hoogly district of Bengal, on the 2oth of February, 
i8^4, 2 in a poor but orthodox Brahman family. The accounts 
which are published of his life already tend to be mythical. 
Even the best biography that exists, which was written by one 
of his pupils, and published by Max Miiller, decidedly tends 
here and there towards the marvellous ; and a large volume, 
published by another of his disciples, and called the Gospel 
i of Sri Ramakrishna, imitates the Christian Gospels so carefully 
in many minor points that one wonders how far the assimila 
tion has gone. Yet the main events of his life stand out quite 
clear, so that we can trace, in large measure, the growth of this 
gifted man s mind. 

Even when quite a boy, he showed wonderful powers of 
memory and considerable interest in religious books and 
stories. He received no education. His father died when 
he was about seventeen; and he then went with his elder 
brother, Pandit Ram Kumar, down to Calcutta, to try to 
make a living. For some time he was employed as pujdri, 
or ministrant, in certain Hindu families in the northern part 
of the city, his duty being to see to the worship of the house 
hold idols. But a wealthy Bengali lady built rather a strik 
ing temple at Dakshinesvara, four miles north of Calcutta, on 
the bank of the Hugli River ; and, when this temple was opened 
on the 3ist of May, 1855, his elder brother was appointed 
chief priest. Soon after, Gadadhar was appointed one of the 
assistant priests. 

1 The details of his life are taken mainly from Max Midler s Ramakrishna. 
Where I differ from him, I give my authority. 

2 See the Gospel of R., p. i. Miiller s date is clearly wrong. 


The two brothers were now in comfortable circumstances ; 
but almost at once religion began to assert itself in Gadadhar s 
life. The form which his religious passion took was a fervent 
worship of the image of Kali in the temple. He thought of 
her as the mother of the universe, and as his own mother. 
The following quotation is from Max Mliller s life : 1 

He now began to look upon the image of the goddess Kali 
as his mother and the mother of the universe. He believed it 
to be living and breathing and taking food out of his hand. 
After the regular forms of worship he would sit there for hours 
and hours, singing hymns and talking and praying to her as 
a child to his mother, till he lost all consciousness of the out 
ward world. 

In his religious ecstasy he would pass into that form of trance 
which is called in Hinduism samddhi. When this came on 
him, he became unconscious. He would sit in a fixed posi 
tion for a short time, or it might be for hours, and would then 
slowly return to consciousness. When he was in this condi 
tion, the best doctors could find no trace of pulse or of heart- 1 
action. 2 It is also said that he already had the power of in 
ducing samadhi in others. This trance is clearly a form of 

His mother and brothers, thinking that marriage would 
make him more like ordinary people, took him home, and had 
him married. This was in 1859. He was then twenty-five 
years of age, while his little bride was only six. This Hindu 
marriage-ceremony is a full Hindu marriage, and completely 
binding : but the husband and wife do not live together until 
the little girl- wife is eleven or twelve years old. 

Then he returned to the temple, leaving his little wife in 
her father s home. But, instead of getting rid of his religious 
ecstasy, he developed a new phase. He now had an over 
powering desire to realize the existence and the presence of 

1 P. 36. 2 R&makrishna, 57. 


his mother, the goddess. The following is from one of his 
disciples : 

"Oh Mother!" he would cry, "show me the truth! Art 
Thou there ? Art Thou there ? Dost Thou exist ? Why then 
should I be left in ignorance ? Why can I not realize ? Words 
and philosophy are vain. Vain all this talk of things ! Truth ! 
It is truth alone I want to realize. Truth I would touch ! 
Truth I seek to feel!" 1 

He believed that God can be seen. He felt that, until he had 
seen Kali, he had not realized her, and that there was some 
thing wrong with his devotion. He would fall into samddhi, 
and remain unconscious for hours. His neglect of his duties 
as priest of the temple was so serious, that he had to be de 
prived of his position. He left the temple, and lived in a little 
wood near by. From now onwards for about twelve years 
he lived a life of prayer and supplication, of severe self-repres 
sion, and of unceasing effort to reach union with God : 

Looking back to these years of self-torture in his later days, 
he said, that a great religious tornado, as it were, raged within 
him during these years and made everything topsy-turvy. 
He had no idea then that it lasted for so long a time. He 
never had a wink of sound sleep during these years, could not 
even doze, but his eyes would remain always open and fixed. 2 

The first person who understood him and helped him, was a 
Brahman nun (sannydsim), who came and resided in the 
temple for some time. She was a woman of great beauty, and 
considerable learning. She knew and practised yoga, that is, 
various bodily postures, breathing exercises, and forms of in 
tellectual drill, meant for the progressive restraint of both 
body and mind and the development of supernatural powers. 
The books she knew were the Tantras, old manuals written for 
the worship of Kali, and the exposition of the theology con- 

1 My Master, 30. 2 Ramaskrishna, 41. 


nected with her name. She understood Gadadhar s religious 
condition, and her sympathy was of great service to him. 
She showed his friends old Vaishnava books from which it 
appeared that the saints of Bengal of former days were afflicted 
just as he was. She taught him all she knew ; and then, after 
a stay of some years, departed and was never seen again. 

Gadadhar was still dissatisfied. He longed for higher 
knowledge ; and, fortunately, there came to the temple a man 
named Tota^puri who was able to help him. He was a tall, 
strong, muscular ascetic, who wore no clothing, and never 
slept under a roof, but kept up the use of the sacred fire. He 
was some sort of monk, sannyasi, but he cannot have belonged 
to any of the great orders, else he would not have had a fire. 
The system of philosophy which he followed was the monistic 
Vedanta, as taught by Sankaracharya. The doctrines are 
that God is impersonal, that the human spirit is identical with 
God, and that the world is an illusion. This he expounded to 
Gadadhar; and the latter proved a quick pupil. He also 
taught him the highest stage of religious trance, niruikalpa 
samddhi, in which not a trace of consciousness remains. But 
the master also learned much from the pupil; so that he 
stayed eleven months with him. He initiated Gadadhar as a 
monk, sannyasi. As we have already seen, the sannyasi gives 
up home, property, caste, ornaments, the work of the world, 
money and marriage. Gadadhar was able to take this vow, 
because he had forgotten that he was married. When a man 
becomes a sannyasi, he takes a new name. From this time 
forward, then, he was known as Ramakrishna. At a later 
date his friends called him Paramahamsa, a title bestowed 
only on sannyasls of the most advanced knowledge and 

After the departure of Tota-puri, Ramakrishna desired to 
remain continuously in the exalted form of trance he had 
learnt ; and we are told that, for six months, almost without 


a break, he lived in religious unconsciousness. His own ac 
count of these days is as follows : 

In those days I was quite unconscious of the outer world. 
My body would have died for want of nourishment, but for a 
sadhu (religious ascetic) who came at that time and stayed 
there for three days for my sake. He recognized my state of 
Samadhi, and took much interest to preserve this body, while 
I was unconscious of its very existence. He used to bring some 
food every day, and when all methods failed to restore sensa 
tion or consciousness to this body of mine, he would even strike 
me with a heavy club, so that the pain might bring me back to 
consciousness. Sometimes he succeeded in awakening a sort 
of partial consciousness in me, and he would immediately force 
down one or two mouthfuls of food before I was lost again in 
deep Samadhi. Some days when he could not produce any 
response, even after a severe beating, he was very sorrowful. 1 

The trance period passed away, ending in a serious illness, but 
Ramakrishna recovered. 

He next sought to attain the Vaishnava ideal of love for 
God. The method by which he tried to rouse the right 
feelings was to imagine he was some one of the great devotees 
of the old stories. For example, he imagined himself Radha, 
Krishna s cowherd mistress, wore woman s attire, spoke like 
a woman, and lived among the women of his own family, 
until he experienced something like her passionate love for 
Krishna. After some time he felt he had attained his ideal : 
he saw the beautiful form of Krishna in a trance, and was 

The twelve years of storm and stress had passed. He was 
at peace. It was the year 1871. His wife, who was now 
eighteen years of age, and had heard of his fame, came to see 
him. Ramakrishna explained that he could never be a hus 
band to her. She replied that she was quite satisfied to live 
with him on his own terms, if he would only enlighten her 

1 Ramakrishna, 49. 


mind, and enable her to see and serve God. So she took up 
her residence in the temple, and became one of his most de 
voted pupils. She survived him, and spoke in the warmest 
way of him afterwards. She revered him as a divine being. 

The next impulse that came to him was to conquer his own 
feelings in matters of caste. Since he was a sannyasi, he had 
no caste of his own left, according to the rules of his religion ; 
yet the prejudices and instinctive feelings of his Brahman birth 
remained ; and he felt he must overcome his natural abhor 
rence of low-caste people. One of his disciples describes what 
he did: 

In order, then, that he might stand above none, our Brahmin 
sought to identify himself with the Chandala, by doing his 
work. He is the street-cleaner, and the scavenger, touched 
by no one; and so, in the night, this man possessed himself 
of his brooms and utensils, and entering those hidden offices 
of the temple which it was the duty of pariahs to cleanse, he 
knelt down, and did the work of purification with his own 
hands, wiping the place with his hair ! Nor was this the only 
abasement that he imposed upon himself. The temple gave 
food daily to many beggars, and amongst these were Mahom- 
medans, outcasts, and people of no character. Waiting till 
all had finished eating, our Brahmin would collect the green 
leaves that had formed their plates, would gather together the 
broken fragments of food that they had left, would even eat 
from amongst their rejected morsels, and would finally cleanse the 
place where all sorts and conditions of men had had their meal. 1 

He was next seized by the desire to know and understand 
other religions. Here are two quotations which tell how he 
proceeded : 

He found a Mahommedan saint and went to live with him ; 
he underwent the discipline prescribed by him, became a Mahom 
medan for the time being, lived like a Mahommedan, dressed 
like a Mahommedan, and did everything laid down in their 
codes. 2 

1 My Master, 38-40. 2 Ib., 41. 




He had seen Jesus in a vision, and for three days he could 
think of nothing and speak of nothing but Jesus and His love. 1 

The result was that he came to the conclusion that all reli 
gions were true, that they were simply various paths leading 
to the same goal. 

2. People now began to visit him. One of his chief friends 
was a pandit, named Vaishnava Charan, who often went to 
see him, and now and then brought him to Calcutta. 2 Daya- 
nanda Sarasvatl met him during the time which he spent in 
Calcutta at the end of 1872 and the beginning of i873- 3 
About the year 1875, Keshab Chandra Sen made his ac 
quaintance, 4 and became deeply interested in him. He talked 
about him to his friends, and also wrote about him. In conse 
quence, educated men from Calcutta began to go to the 
temple to see Ramakrishna. From this time onward, he 
made the acquaintance of those young men who became his 
devoted disciples, and carried on his work after his death. 
Many famous Indians went to see him, and to listen to his 
brilliant conversation. 5 For seven years, from 1879 to his 
death in 1886, he talked almost incessantly. He wrote 
nothing, but his disciples took down his sayings in Bengali ; 
and several collections of them have been published. The 
most convenient collection is that contained in Max Miiller s 
Ramakrishna. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, written by 
Prof. M. N. Gupta, one of his disciples, consists of a brief in 
troduction, containing the merest outline of his life, and a 
description of the temple precincts where he lived, and then 
350 pages of conversations with friends and disciples. A good 
deal of the language is modelled on the language of the 

According to his most famous disciple, Narendra Nath Dutt, 

1 Ramakrishna, 51. z Gospel of R., 6. 3 Ib., 9, 182. 

4 Ib., 7. M tiller s date, p. 55, is manifestly wrong. P. 51, above. 
6 Gospel of R., 8-10, 135, 182. 






usually called SvamTVivekananda, he had two types of con 
versation, as may be seen from the following paragraph : 1 

He was a wonderful mixture of God and man. In his ordi 
nary state he would talk of himself as servant of all men and 
women. He looked upon them all as God. He himself would 
never be addressed as Guru, or teacher. Never would he claim 
for himself any high position. He would touch the ground 
reverently where his disciples had trodden. But every now and 
then strange fits of God-consciousness came upon him. He 
then spoke of himself as being able to do and know everything. 
He spoke as if he had the power of giving anything to anybody. 
He would speak of himself as the same soul that had been born 
before as Rama, as Krishna, as Jesus, or as Buddha, born again 
as Ramakrishna. He told Mathuranatha long before anybody 
knew him, that he had many disciples who would come to him 
shortly, and he knew all of them. He said that he was free 
from all eternity, and the practices and struggles after religion 
which he went through were only meant to show the people 
the way to salvation. He had done all for them alone. He 
would say he was a Nitya-mukta, or eternally free, and an in 
carnation of God Himself. 

3. The character of Ramakrishna was singularly simple. 
He seemed to be capable of only a single motive, namely, a 
passion for God. That ruled and filled him. So completely 
did it dominate him that many regarded him as a useless, in 
effective man, while others said he was mad. His idea of God 
seems crude and thin to a Christian ; yet it had mastered him ; 
and, when we follow that clue, every detail of his character 
and life falls into place. For this end he became a sarmyasi, 
renouncing caste, marriage, property, money. In order that 
his renunciation might be utterly real, he put himself through 
a tremendous discipline of repression, until his hatred of money 
had become so instinctive that his body would shrink back 
convulsively if he were touched with a coin, when asleep ; 2 

1 R&makrishna, 58. 2 My Master, 61, 


and he had so conquered the sex instinct that every woman was 
to him a mother. On this latter point P. C. Mozoomdar, 1 
the Brahma, says : 

For long years, therefore, he says, he made the utmost 
efforts to be delivered from the influence of women. His heart 
rending supplications and prayers for such deliverance sometimes 
uttered aloud in his retreat on the river-side, brought crowds of 
people who bitterly cried when he cried, and could not help 
blessing him and wishing him success with their whole hearts. 

This same passion for God, taken along with the Hindu idea 
of God, will explain also the more curious and eccentric points 
of his character. One of his own sayings is : 

A true devotee who has drunk deep of the Divine Love is 
like a veritable drunkard, and, as such, cannot always observe 
I the rules of propriety. 2 

It is from this point of view that we can understand another of 
Mozoomdar s statements about him : 
1 His speech at times was abominably filthy. 3 

He believed God in His true essence to be impersonal, un 
knowable, beyond the reach of man. On the other hand, 
every human being, indeed everything that is, is a manifesta 
tion of God. Everything that happens is, in a sense, done 
by Him: 

God tells the thief to go and steal, and at the same time warns 
the householder against the thief. 4 

God is thus so truly all that is, that in Him moral distinctions 
become obliterated. 5 Here we get a glimpse of the radical 
distinction between Christianity and Hinduism. Another 
point in his conduct will enable us to understand still more 
clearly. Since every human being is a manifestation of God, 

1 Paramahamsa Rdmaknshna, 13. 2 Ramakrishna, 121. 

Ib., 62, 4 Ib., 103. 5 Gospel of R., 72. 


if Ramakrishna happened to meet an unfortunate, he would i 
bow down before her in adoration. Contrast with this the I 
mind of Christ, who loved the unfortunate as a child of God, 
but could not be content, unless she came to repentance. 

Like every ordinary Hindu, Ramakrishna regarded all 
deities as manifestations of the impersonal Supreme. He 
recognizes the goddess Kali as one of the chief manifestations 
of God. She was to him the divine mother of the universe, 
and he worshipped her more than any other divinity. He 
worshipped her by means of idols ; for he implicitly believed 
the Hindu doctrine, that the divinity fills every one of his own. 
idols with his presence. 1 He also held the ordinary Hindu 
idea of the guru. Here is one of his sayings : 

The disciple should never criticise his own Guru. He must 
implicitly obey whatever his Guru says. Says a Bengali 
couplet : 

Though my Guru may visit tavern and still, 
My Guru is holy Rai Nityananda still. 2 

He was thus a true Hindu, and was ready at any moment 
to defend the whole of Hinduism. 

Thus far Ramakrishna was simply a very devoted Hindu. 
Had there been nothing more in him, he might have lived at 
any time during the last two thousand years. There have 
been multitudes of men like him in India. But the living 
forces which are making the new India pressed in upon him 
from every side. Though he had no English education, the 
new thought came to him by many channels. Christianity 
was demanding acceptance from Hindus, claiming to be the 
one religion for the whole world, urging its ethics on all men. 
Islam was also present, but far less active. What was his 
response to the situation ? He declared that all religions were 
true, that in their inner essence they were identical, and that 

1 See above, p. 189, and Gospel of R., 187. 2 Ramakrishna, 133. 


each man should remain in the religion in which he had been 

A truly religious man should think that other religions also 
are paths leading to the truth. 1 

Every man should follow his own religion. A Christian 
should follow Christianity, a Mohammedan should follow 
Mohammedanism, and so on. For the Hindus the ancient 
path, the path of the Aryan Rishis, is the best. 2 

4. One of Ramakrishna s disciples, a wealthy Calcutta man, 
named Surendranath Mitter, was keenly interested in the 
result produced on Keshab Chandra^JSen by his master s 
teaching on this point, 3 and employed a painter to produce 
a symbolical picture, embodying the idea of the harmony of 
all religions and of the part played by Ramakrishna in intro 
ducing it to Keshab. 4 I have not been able to discover with 
certainty when the picture was painted, but it was already in 
existence on the 2yth of October, i882. 5 When it was shewn 
to Keshab, he exclaimed, "Blessed is the man who conceived 
the idea of this picture." At a later date the picture was re 
produced and published as a supplement to Unity and the 
Minister, a weekly paper representing one of the sub-divisions 
into which the Church of the New Dispensation split up after 
the great leader s death. This picture is reproduced here. 
>In the background are a Christian church, a Muhammadan 
> mosque, and a Hindu temple. In front of the church stand 
]j Keshab and Ramakrishna, Keshab carrying the symbol of 
the New Dispensation described above, 6 and Ramakrishna 
} calling Keshab s attention to the group of figures arranged in 
). front of the mosque and the temple. In the middle of this 
group Christ and Chaitanya, a Bengali religious leader of the 
? sixteenth century, 7 are represented dancing together, while a 

1 Ramakrishna, 153. 2 Ib., 177. 3 See above, pp. 57-8. 

4 Janmabhumi, Asarha, 1317 Sal. 

6 Gospel of R., 132, 164. 6 P. 56, above. 7 P. 293, below. 


Muslim, a Confucian, a Sikh, a Parsee, an Anglican clergy 
man and various Hindus stand round them, each carrying 
some symbol of his faith. It seems to me that nothing 
could be more fitting (for I am writing in Oxford and the 
subject is most apposite) than to dedicate this interesting 
piece of theological art to the versatile author of Reunion fi^ytf /7 
All Round. 

5. It was his teaching on the religions that laid hold of his , 
disciples. He impressed all who came in contact with him as a 
most sincere soul, a God-intoxicated man ; but what distin 
guished his message from the teaching of others was his de 
fence of everything Hindu and his theory that all religions are 
true. This gave his teaching a universalistic turn, and pro 
vided the ordinary Hindu with a defence which he could use to 
meet Christian criticism and the Brahma Samaj. 

His personal influence over all who came within his range 
was very remarkable. Mozoomdar says : 

My mind is still floating in the luminous atmosphere which 
that wonderful man diffuses around him whenever and wher 
ever he goes. My mind is not yet disenchanted of the myste 
rious and indefinable pathos which he pours into it whenever 
he meets me. 1 

Over his personal disciples he exercised a still more wonderful 
power. Their love and reverence for him was boundless. 
They worshipped him. Vivekananda once remarked to a 
well-known Calcutta citizen of high character, Dr. Sircar : 

We look upon the Master as a Person who is like God. 
We offer to Him worship bordering on divine worship. 

Here we have ancient Hindu guru- worship checked in Vivek- 
ananda s mind by the Christian teaching he had got in his 
college course. Apart from Christian influence, he would 
have said, "He is God, and we worship him as God." 

1 Paramahamsa Ramakrishna, i. 2 Gospel of R., 357. Ib., 360. 


The picture given of him by his disciples is very pleasing and 
very vivid ; yet there are not many personal traits to notice. 
Though he was a sannyasl, he dressed like an ordinary Ben 
gali, and lived like one. 1 Mozoomdar in describing him uses 
the words : 

a child-like tenderness, a profound visible humbleness, an 
unspeakable sweetness of expression and a smile that I have 
seen on no other face that I can remember. 2 

| He knew no Sanskrit and scarcely any English. His disciples 

[ would smile when he used the English words, " Thank you." 

I Indeed he had no scholarly knowledge even of Bengali. 3 But 

his conversation was full of quaint, good sense, expressed in 

vivid homely phrases, and lighted up here and there with a 

broad kindly humour. He was fond of certain short allitera- 

jtive phrases, which he had coined, 4 expressive of his main 

religious ideas, such as : 

Naham, naham : Tuhu, tuhu. 

that is, " No 1 1, no 1 1, Thou, Thou. He was no formal teacher. 
Indeed he used to say, "I am nobody s teacher : I am every 
body s disciple." 5 He was a conversationalist, pouring out 
his riches like Samuel Johnson. 

6. After Ramakrishna s death, 6 his chief disciples decided that 
they must devote their lives to the spread of his teaching. 
So a group of them renounced the world and became sannyasls. 
Amongst these by far the most prominent has been Narenda 
Nath Datta, who took the name Vivekananda, when he be 
came a sannyasl. Svami is a title of respect given to any 
sannyasi. He was a Bengali, belonging to Calcutta, a Kayas- 
tha by caste, born on the Qth of January, 1862. 7 He received 

1 Gospel of R., 133. 2 Paramahamsa Rdmakrishna, 3. 

3 Rdmakrishna, 62 ; Gospel of R., 194. 4 Gospel of R., 196-7. 

5 Ib., 337. 6 On the isth March, 1886. 

7 See a brief biography published by Natesan, Madras. 


a good English education, taking his degree from a Mission 
College in Calcutta, and distinguishing himself in philosophy. 
As a student, he came a good deal under the influence of the 
Brahma Samaj. He had a fine voice, and wherever he went 
was in great request for the singing of Bengali hymns. After 
taking his degree, he began the study of law ; but, early in 
1882, an uncle took him to see Ramakrishna ; and that mo 
ment became the turning-point in his life. 

From the first Ramakrishna singled him out as one destined 
to do great things for God, and gave him a great deal of at 
tention. On his master s death he became a sannyasi, as we 
j have said, and then spent some six years in retirement on the 
Himalayas, doubtless studying and thinking about many 
things. Among other places he is said to have visited Tibet, 
in order to study Buddhism. In 1892 he emerged from his 
retirement, and toured all down the western coast of India, 
going as far south as Trevandrum, whence he turned north 
again and went to Madras. Preparations were being made at 
that time for holding the Parliament of Religions in Chicago. 
Some friends in Madras proposed that Vivekananda should be 
sent to the Parliament to represent Hinduism. Funds were 
collected, and he travelled to America by way of Japan. 

The gathering was held in September, 1893 ; and Vivek 
ananda made a great impression, partly by his eloquence, partly 
by his striking figure and picturesque dress, but mainly by his 
new, unheard-of presentation of Hinduism. We shall deal 
with his thought later ; so that we need not delay over it here. 
The following quotations from American papers show how far 
those who were most deeply influenced by the Svami went : 

He is an orator by divine right, and his strong, intelligent 
face in its picturesque setting of yellow and orange was hardly 
less interesting than those earnest words, and the rich, rhyth 
mical utterance he gave them. 1 

1 The New York Critique. 


Vivekananda is undoubtedly the greatest figure in the 
Parliament of Religions. After hearing him we feel how 
foolish it is to send missionaries to this learned nation. 1 

He stayed some time in America, lecturing and founding 

Vedanta societies in several places. Two American disciples 

joined him, Madame Louise, who became Svami Abhaya- 

nanda, and Mr. Sandsberg, who became Svami Kripananda. 

From America he crossed to England, where he was joined by 

, his most notable disciple, Miss Margaret Noble, who took the 

I name Sister Nivedita (i.e. dedicated). 

In January, 1897, the Svami arrived in Colombo with his 
small group of Western disciples, and from there made a 
triumphal progress all the way up through India. He was 
everywhere acclaimed by vast audiences of Hindus as the 
Saviour of the ancient faith; and it was generally believed 
that America and England were being rapidly converted to 
Hinduism. There was no limit to the thousands of disciples 
with which the Svami was credited. 

He at once set about organizing regular work. Two monas 
teries were opened, one at Belur, near Calcutta, the other at 
Mayavati on the Himalayas, near Almora. These monas 
teries are meant to receive young men who have become 
sannyasls of the Ramakrishna Mission, as it is called, and to 
give them a training for their work. The monastery at Belur 
near Calcutta is the headquarters of all the work. The 
same year one of the most outstanding features of the Rama 
krishna Mission, its philanthropic activity, was started. There 
was widespread famine in India then ; and Vivekananda was 
able to gather money, and to organize a number of enthusi 
astic followers at several centres for the relief of the famine- 

But in 1898 Vivekananda s health gave way, and he was 

1 The New York Herald. 


advised to go to Britain and America for a change. He and 
Sister Nivedita sailed together. He spent but a short time in 
England, and went on to America. The climate of California 
helped his strength a good deal, and he soon began work again. 
It was at this time that the Vedanta Society was founded in 
San Francisco, and also the Sdnti Asrama, the Peace Retreat. 
He went to New York, and founded the Vedanta society 
there. It was then arranged that he should attend the Con 
gress of Religions, which was to be held in Paris in 1 900. After 
attending the Congress, he returned to India, but in very poor 

Yet he could not be still ; and, during the next two years, 
he organized a good deal of fresh work. A third monastery 
was founded, in Madras ; and centres of philanthropic effort 
were formed in Madras, Benares and in the Murshidabad dis 
trict of Bengal. He was deeply impressed with the need of 
work and self-sacrifice. He would not deliver lectures, but 
did all he could to set men to work. 1 He passed away rather 
unexpectedly on the 4th of July, 10,02, at the early age of 

We may grasp his message most distinctly, if we take it in 
four parts. 

A . All religions are true and good ; and, therefore, every 
man ought to remain in his own religion. 

B. God is impersonal, unknowable, non-moral. He is 
manifested in the whole world, in all men, in all gods and in 
all incarnations. The human soul is truly divine. All men 
are saints. It is a calumny and a sin to say that any human 
being can be guilty of sin. Idolatry is a very healthy and 
spiritual form of worship. Every particle of Hinduism is of 
value and must be retained. The reformers are mistaken. 
In trying to uproot the weeds, they are tearing up the precious 
wheat also : 

, 114. 


The old ideas may be all superstition, but within these masses 
of superstition are nuggets of gold and truth. Have you dis 
covered means by which to keep that gold alone, without any 
of the dross ? l 

C. Hindu civilization, since it springs from the oldest and 
noblest of religions, is good, beautiful and spiritual in every 
part. The foreigner fails altogether to understand it. All 
the criticism of European scholars is erroneous, and every 
thing that missionaries say on the subject is wickedly slander 
ous. The Hindu nation is a spiritual nation. It has taught 
the world in the past, and will yet teach the whole world again. 

D. European nations and Western civilization are gross, 
material, selfish and sensual ; and therefore their influence is 
most seriously degrading to the Hindu. It is of the utmost 
importance that every Hindu should do all in his power to 
defend his religion and civilization, and save Hindu society 
from the poison of Western influence. Yet the Hindu re 
quires to use Western methods and Western education. Nay, 
the Hindu must even give up his vegetarianism, and become a 
meat-eater, it may be a beef-eater, in order to become strong, 
and build up a powerful civilization once more on the soil of 

Vivekananda has no historical conscience whatsoever. He 
is ready to re-write the whole history of antiquity in a para 
graph, to demonstrate in a sentence that China, in the East, 
and Greece and Rome, in the West, owed all their philosophi 
cal acumen and every spiritual thought they had to the 
teachers of ancient India. He learned the appeal to history 
from his Western education; but there is not the faintest 
reflection in his writings of the accuracy and careful research 
which are the very life-breath of modern scholarship. 

He exercised a fine influence on young India in one direc 
tion. He summoned his fellow-countrymen to stand on their 

1 My Master, 13. 


own feet, to trust themselves and to play the man ; and his 
words were not without fruit. 

It is striking to note the harvest that appeared in Vivek 
ananda from the seed sown by his master Ramakrishna. 
The latter dropped every moral restriction when thinking of 
God and his manifestations. Vivekananda frankly drew the 
natural inference : "sin is impossible ; there is no such thing 
as human responsibility; man can do no wrong." Rama- 
krishna s indiscriminate acceptance and uncritical defence of 
everything Hindu expanded in his disciple into unbounded 
laudation of everything Indian ; and, while Vivekananda 
himself bears witness that his master was genial and kindly, 
and condemned no one, the disciple, not unnaturally, was led 
by his unmixed praise of everything Hindu to the most violent 
and unjust condemnation of everything Western. 

The final outcome of Vivekananda s teaching will be dis 
cussed in another connection. 1 

7. Vivekananda s English disciple, Sister Nivedita, settled 
in a small Hindu house in the northern part of Calcutta, and 
lived there a life of simple service for several years, visiting the 
Hindu homes around about her, conducting a school for girls 
in her own house, and leading young Hindus into practical 
service. She was a woman of deep romantic feeling and of 
considerable literary power. She readily picked up her mas 
ter s method of glorifying Hinduism and Hindu life, and far 
exceeded him. Her chief work, The Web of Indian Life, shows, 
on the one hand, most remarkable sympathy with both the 
ideals and the actualities of Hindu life, and proves to every 
capable reader what a priceless help towards interpretation 
sympathy is, but, on the other hand, contains such exaggerated 
language in praise of Hindu customs and institutions, that 
many orthodox Hindus have protested against the book as 
altogether untrustworthy and as thoroughly unhealthy read- 

1 Below, pp. 357-8, 


ing for young Hindus themselves. Yet Sister Nivedita had 
her reward. Though her book is unwise, she loved the Hindu 
people and served them ; and they gave her their love. At 
her death, in October, 1911, there was an extraordinary out 
burst of feeling in the Hindu community of Bengal. 

8. The work of the Ramakrishna Mission l has grown slowly 
since Vivekananda s death. There have been no such results 
as one would have expected to spring from the unbounded 
enthusiasm with which the Svaml was welcomed, when he 
returned from America. He summoned his countrymen to 
practical service, to self-sacrificing work for India. Had the 
myriads who acclaimed him really responded to his call, the 
work would soon have attained very great dimensions ; but 
the truth is that ancient Hinduism does not teach the duty 
of service at all, and that all that the average educated Hindu 
wants is to get somebody to assure him that Hinduism is as 
good as Christianity, and that he does not need to become a 
Christian. Having heard this, amidst the flare of trumpets 
with which Vivekananda returned from America, the average 
man gave a sigh of relief, and returned to his vegetating life 
as an ordinary Hindu. Vivekananda s call to self-sacrificing 
service was just another of those troublesome appeals which 
they had heard over and over again from the missionaries 
and the Brahma leaders ; and they paid no more attention 
to it. Only a few responded; and these continue to carry 
on the work. There are now five monasteries, Belur, near 
Calcutta, Benares, Allahabad, Mayavati, on the Himalayas, 
and Bangalore. These institutions are meant for the resi 
dence and training of sannyasis. The whole mission is 
governed from the Belur monastery. At Benares, Hardwar, 
Allahabad and Brindaban, the four chief centres of Hindu 
pilgrimage, permanent charitable institutions, called Sevd- 
srams, Homes of Service, have grown up. Care for the poor 
1 It is described in the Hindoo Patriot, October 14, 1912. 


and medical relief are their chief activities. Educational 
work is also attempted in a few places ; and the mission is 
sensitive to need and ready to help, when distress arises 
through famine, plague or flood. There is a desire in the mis 
sion to build up a large educational activity, but this has not 
yet been found possible. Vivekananda wished to combine 
Western and Hindu education. 

The founder of the Ramakrishna Mission, Svami Vivek 
ananda, had his own ideal of national education. For, to him, 
as is evident from his Indian utterances, the national ideal was 
a thing already realized within. It is claimed by many, like 
the late Sister Nivedita, that he was the first representative of 
the synthetic culture which India must evolve, if she is to live. 1 

Vivekananda s influence still lives in America. There are 
societies that teach Hinduism in various ways in New York, 
Boston, Washington, Pittsburg and San Francisco. His 
influence seems to be far stronger in San Francisco than any 
where else. There is a picturesque Hindu Temple there, in 
which classes are held and addresses given, and the literature 
of the mission sold. They have a little monthly magazine, 
called the Voice of Freedom. Two Svamis are in charge. 
There are three lectures every Sunday; and classes for the 
study of the Gtta, the Upanishads and Yoga are held on week 

Vivekananda started several magazines, which are still 
published in India. The Brahmavadin, which is published in 
Madras, and the Prabuddha Bharata, which is published at 
Mayavati in the Himalayas, are both in English, and contain 
a good deal of useful matter on Hindu philosophy. A 
Bengali monthly, named Udbodhan, is published in Calcutta. 
Books written by Vivekananda during his lifetime, and a 
few others, published by other members of the mission since 
then, are sold in the various centres. 

1 The Hindoo Patriot, October 14, 1912, p. 7. 


LITERATURE. LIFE : Ramakrishna, His Life and Sayings, by 
F. Max Miiller, London, Longmans, 1910, 55. (This book con 
tains the best biography, and also a collection of his sayings.) Gospel 
of Sri Ramakrishna, according to M. (i.e. Prof. M. N. Gupta), Part 
I, Madras, Ramakrishna Mission, 1912, Rs. 2-8. (A picture of 
Ramakrishna s life with his disciples and his teaching: see above, 
p. 194.) My Master (a lecture), by Swami Vivekananda, Calcutta, 
Udbodhan Office, 1911, 8 as. VIVEKANANDA: Swami Vivek 
ananda, His Life and Teachings, Madras, Natesan, 4 as. 
Speeches and Writings of Swami Vivekananda. Madras, Natesan, 
Rs. 2. NIVEDITA : Sister Nivedita, A Sketch of her Life and Her 
Services to India, Madras, Natesan, 4 as. The Web of Indian 
Life, by Sister Nivedita, London, Heinemann, 55. An account of the 
Ramakrishna Mission appeared in the Hindu Patriot of October, 1912. 


Theosophy is a system of religion, science and practical life, 
first taught by Madame Blavatsky, and incorporated in a 
society founded by her and Colonel Olcott in New York in 
1875, but carried much farther by Mrs. Besant and C. W. 
Leadbeater in recent years. It purports to be the final truth 
of the universe, taught in different lands and at different times 
by various founders of religion and teachers of philosophy, but 
revealed anew to Madame Blavatsky by certain Masters, or 
Mahatmas (i.e. Great Souls), said to live in Tibet and else 
where. The system and the society are both of great interest 
because of the large literature which has sprung from the 
movement, and the very remarkable growth of the society in 
many parts of the world. 

The attempt to write an unvarnished account of Theosophy 
is beset by a number of tantalizing difficulties. No trust 
worthy history of the movement, no reliable biography of 
the foundress, is in existence. Theosophic accounts both of 
Madame Blavatsky s life and of the history of the society 
are extremely unreliable. 1 Colonel Olcott and other leaders 
1 See Appendix, p. 447 ff. 


of the movement themselves tell us with the utmost frankness 
that Madame Blavatsky was a liar, that she told lies at any 
time, both in fun and in earnest. 1 This habit of hers issued in 
two extraordinary myths, the story of the pretended Mahat- 
mas in Tibet and their communications to her, 2 and the legend 
of her own virginity. 3 Since 1879 and 1885, respectively, these 
two myths have very seriously contaminated Theosophic 
literature. Every statement has to be checked by reference 
to other documents and authorities. 

Fortunately, after her death, a number of letters, which she 
had written to two well-known Russian men of letters be 
tween 1874 and 1886, were published in Russia, and shortly 
afterwards were translated into English. These give us a great 
many peeps into her life. The first of these correspondents 
was M. A. N. Aksakoff, editor of the Leipzig Psychische Studien, 
who had long taken an interest in every kind of psychical 
question. Her letters to him run from the 28th of October, 1874, 
to the 6th of November, 187 7, and there are a few from 1879 also. 
Her second Russian correspondent was M. V. S. Solo vy off, 
whose acquaintance she made in Paris in May, 1884. Her 
numerous letters to him all fall between that date and the 
spring of 1886. There is not the slightest question about the 
genuineness of these letters. They appeared originally in a 
series of articles, entitled A Modern Priestess of I sis, by M. 
Solovyoff in a Russian magazine. Madame Blavatsky s 
sister, Madame Jelihovsky, denied several of M. Solovyoff s 
own statements, but she did not challenge the authenticity of 
any of the documents which he had reproduced. The articles 
were published in book-form in Russia ; and the book was then 
translated into English by Mr. Walter Leaf. Whoever 
wishes to understand Madame Blavatsky ought to read this 
brilliant and reliable work. We shall not use anything chal- 

1 Hints on Esoteric Theosophy, No. i ; ODL., I, 264-5. 

2 P. 227, below. 3 P. 260, below. 


lenged by Madame Jelihovsky, and indeed shall rely almost 
entirely on the letters. 

Similarly, for later periods, documentary evidence which 
enables the student to get somewhat nearer the facts, has 
become available in various ways. Thus, the full exposure 
of Judge would have been quite impossible, had it not been 
that one of the officials of the society, disgusted at the course 
of events, resigned, and then handed over copies of all the 
incriminating documents for publication ; 1 and, in the Al 
cyone trials in Madras, 2 Mrs. Besant inadvertently handed 
over to the prosecution a bundle of letters written by Mr. 
Leadbeater, which threw much light on certain events. 

It is very unfortunate that, at present, so far as I can 
make out, there is no scholar in England or America, outside 
the Theosophic circle itself, who has made any serious study 
of the literature and history of Theosophy. Hodgson, 
Coleman and SolovyofT are dead ; and every scholar to 
whom I have spoken on the subject has said that the 
quality of Theosophic literature has altogether driven him 
away from the subject. This is greatly to be regretted. 

I have had interviews with scores of people who are, 
or who were, Theosophists, and have learned much from 
them ; but it is harder to get information of a helpful and 
reliable kind from Theosophists than from members of any 
other religious movement I have dealt with, except possibly 
the Radha Soamis ; and the pledge of secrecy exacted from 
those who join the Esoteric School makes it impossible to 
get light on Theosophic methods of occultism. I have 
learnt most of all from a few individuals who were once at 
the centre of things, but are now outside. Some have 
returned to Christianity, but most retain a larger or smaller 
amount of Theosophic belief. 

I have been seriously hampered in writing my account 
1 See p. 270, below. 2 See pp. 276-7, below. 


of Theosophy for want of space. An adequate outline of its 
history would fill the whole volume. 

Madame Blavatsky 

1. Helena Petrovna was born on the i2th^o August, 1831, 
the daughter of Col. Peter Halm, a member of a German 
family settled in Russia. She was connected with a number 
of the best Russian families. From her childhood she seems 
to have been a medium. Spiritualistic phenomena are 
said to have constantly attended her. 1 In 18.3.8, when she 
was but seventeen, she married N. V. Blavatsky, a Russian 
official, a man a good deal older than herself, 2 but ran away 
from him three months after the marriage. 

2. Of her life from 1848 to 1872 we have no connected and 
reliable account. It is clear that she travelled a great deal 
in many lands, but both dates and places are altogether 
doubtful. Two facts, however, are absolutely certain, 
both of great importance. 

The first of these is that for many years she lived a very 
wild and evil life. Her relatives in Russia knew quite well 
the kind of life she led. M. Aksakoff wrote in the a,utumn 
of 1874, to Andrew Jackson Davis, an American journalist, 
interested in spiritualism : 

J ai entendu parler de Madame Blavatsky par un de ses 
parents, qui la dit un medium assez fort. Malheureusement 
ses communications ressentent de son moral qui n a pas etc 
des plus severes. 3 (I have heard Madame Blavatsky spoken 
of by one of her relatives, who said she was rather a powerful 
medium. Unfortunately her communications bear marks of 
her morality, which has not been of the severest type.) 

1 Sinnett, Incidents, 33-37 (edition of 1913); Aksakoff in MPL, 227. 

2 According to her story, he was nearer seventy than sixty in 1848 (Sin 
nett, Incidents, 39), but as he was still alive in 1892 (MPI., 116), she must 
have greatly exaggerated his age. 

3 MPL, 227. 


Mr. Davis handed this letter to Madame Blavatsky herself 
to translate. Naturally the reference to her past caused 
her intense excitement ; and she at once wrote a letter to 
M. AksakofT from which we give a few sentences : 

Whoever it was told you about me, they told you the truth 
in essence, if not in detail. God only knows how I have suffered 
for my past. It is clearly my fate to gain no absolution upon 
earth. The past, like the brand of the curse of Cain, has pur 
sued me all my life, and pursues me even here, in America, 
where I came to be far from it and from the people who knew 
me in my youth. ... I hated hypocrisy in whatever form 
it shewed itself; ergo, I ran amuck against society and the 
established proprieties. Result : three lines in your letter, 
which have awakened all the past within me and torn open all 
the old wounds. . . . 

I have only one refuge left in the world, and that is the respect 
of the spiritualists of America, who despise nothing so much as 
free love. 1 

Later she wrote again : 

I really cannot, just because the devil got me into trouble 
in my youth, go and rip up my stomach now like a Japanese 
suicide in order to please the mediums. My position is very 
cheerless ; simply helpless. There is nothing left but to start 
for Australia and change my name for ever. 2 

In February, 1886, she sent a document, headed "My Confes 
sion," to M. Solovyoff, in which the following sentences occur : 

I have already written a letter to Sinnett forbidding him to 
publish my memoir es at his own discretion. I myself will 
publish them with all the truth. So there will be the truth 
about H. P. Blavatsky, in which psychology and her own and 
others immorality and Rome and politics and all her own and 
others filth once more will be set out to God s world. I shall 
conceal nothing. It will be a Saturnalia of the moral depravity 

1 MPL, 228, 229, 230. Cf. also her later letters, 233, 268. 

2 76., 268. 


of mankind, this confession of mine, a worthy epilogue of my 
stormy life. 1 

Her sister, Madame Jelihovsky, also spoke and wrote to 
M. Solo vy off quite frankly on the subject. 2 Amongst her 
letters to Madame Coulomb 3 was one consisting of twelve 
closely written quarto pages, giving a detailed account of her 
life from 1851 to 1875. She spoke of it as a page which she 
wished to see " torn out of the book " of her life. For some 
considerable time she lived with a man named Metrovitch, 
and was known as Madame Metrovitch. There was also 
a boy whom she acknowledged as her son for several years ; 
but in 1885, when she created the virginity myth, she told 
a new and wonderful tale about him. 4 There is thus the 
most irrefragable evidence that she lived a very immoral 
life for many years. 

The other fact which stands out clear in these years is 
that in 1358 she returned to Russia for some time, and that 
spiritualistic phenomena followed wherever she went. 5 

3. From 1872 onward we can trace her life in outline 
without much difficulty. Some part of that year she spent 
in Cairo, endeavouring to make a livelihood by giving spirit 
ualistic seances. There, she met an Englishwoman who 
later married a Frenchman, named M. Coulomb. This 
lady went to one of the seances, in the hope of hearing the 
voice of a dearly loved brother who had just died. The 
spirit-show was a complete failure, but the two women 
became friends. Madame Blavatsky was in great need 
of money, and the Englishwoman gave her a loan, 
which she was unable to repay during her stay in 
Egypt. In 1884, when the Coulomb letters made these 
facts public, 6 Madame Blavatsky denied them, but her 

1 MPL, 181. 2 /&., 193, 195, 202. 

8 See below, p. 239; also Proceedings, IX, 314-5. * MPI., 141. 

6 Sinnett, Incidents, chaps. III-VI. 6 See below, p. 239. 


own correspondence shews clearly that the seances were 
held and proved a failure. 1 A paragraph also appeared in 
The Medium for April 26, 1872, inviting mediums ready 
for engagements to apply to Madame Blawatsky (sic) in 

On the 7th of July, 1873, she arrived in New York, and 
settled down there. In her first letter to M. Aksakoff, 
written on the 28th of October, 1874, she said : 

I have been living in America for about a year and a half, 
and have no intention of leaving. 2 

She continued to reside in the States until the end of 187$, 
becoming a naturalized citizen in the interval. Clearly 
there was some reason for this decision to give up her wan 
dering life and to settle down, not in Russia, but in an alien 
land. In her letters to M. Aksakoff she gives a clear intelli 
gible reason for this policy. Her youth was now over; 
she was forty-two years of age. She wanted to escape from 
the results of her dissolute life ; but that was impossible in 
Europe, above all in Russia, where her past was so well 
known. 3 So she decided to go to America " to be far from " 
the curse of her past life and "from the people who knew" 
her in her youth. 4 

No detailed account of how she spent her first fifteen 
months in America has been published. Events are clearly 
traceable only from October, 1874, onwards, when she began 
to correspond with M. Aksakoff. But her plan seems to 
have been to live by writing on spiritualism, which at that 
time was making a great noise in America. It is probable 
that it was this consideration which drew her to New York 
rather than to Melbourne, Calcutta, or some other city 
equally distant from the Russia which she longed for but 

1 MPI., 131. 2 Ib., 225. 8 Ib. y 228. 4 Above, p. 212. 


dared not approach. At any rate, she made the acquaint 
ance of several journalists and writers, one of whom was 
Andrew Jackson Davis, who has been already mentioned, 
and kept in close touch with spiritualism. 

During the summer and autumn of 1874., a group of people 
interested in spiritualism had gathered round a family 
named Eddy, at Chittenden in the State of Vermont. 
Amongst those who were there to watch and to see what 
was to be seen was Henry Steel Olcott, who had served in 
the federal army during the Civil war and bore the title 
of Colonel, but who was now a journalist, and had been 
sent by the New York Graphic to report the happenings at 
Chittenden. Thither went Madame Blavatsky ; and there, 
in October, she met Olcott. 

On the 28th of the same month, at the advice of Davis, 
she wrote to M. Aksakoff, telling him of the great vogue of 
spiritualism in America, and asking whether she might not 
send him for publication from time to time Russian transla 
tions of articles on spiritist subjects appearing in American 
magazines. The proposal was accepted, and the corre 
spondence continued for some years. In her first letter, 
the boom in spiritualism is represented as very great, 1 
and the phenomena at Chittenden are described as most 
wonderful. 2 

The letter was scarcely despatched when Aksakoffs 
French letter to Davis about Madame Blavatsky s character 
already quoted, 3 arrived ; and in her reply, an extract from 
which has been also quoted, she declares that she is a con 
vinced spiritualist and has been such for more than ten 
years : 

I am a spiritist and spiritualist in the full significance 
of the two titles. ... I have now been a spiritist for more 
than ten years, and now all my life is devoted to the doctrine. 
1 MPI., 225. 2 Ibi> 226< 3 Above> p 2II 


I am struggling for it and trying to consecrate to it every mo 
ment of my life. Were I rich, I would spend all my money to 
the last farthing pour la propagande de cette divine verite. 
But my means are very poor, and I am obliged to live by my 
work, by translating and writing in the papers. 1 

In later letters she wrote : 

I was in deepest darkness, but I have seen the light, and to 
this light I have given myself up entirely. Spiritism is a 
great truth, and I will serve it to the grave. . . . 

For spiritism I am ready to work night and day, so long as I 
have a morsel of bread, and that only because it is hard to work 
when one is hungry. . . . 

I have already sacrificed myself for spiritualism, and in 
defence of my faith and the truth I am ready at any moment 
to lay my head on the block. . . . 2 

If you hear that the sinful Blavatsky has perished, not in 
the bloom of years and beauty, by some surprising death, and 
that she has dematerialised for ever, then you will know that 
it is for spiritualism. In thee, Lord, do we put our trust, and 
we shall not be confounded for ever. . . . 

I have quite ceased to get any letters from my aunts and 
sisters ; they have evidently all forgotten me, and so much the 
better for them. I am no credit to them, to tell the truth. 
I shall now never go back again to Russia. My father is dead, 
nobody wants me, and I am altogether superfluous in the world. 
Here I am at least a human being; there, I am Blavatsky. 
I know that everybody respects me here, and I am needed for 
spiritualism. Now the spirits are my brothers and sisters, 
my father and mother. 3 

From her letters it is plain that Olcott used every possible 
means to bring her into notoriety and popularity, raising 
her to the rank of Countess, mixing her up with "princes, 
boyards and imaginary governors-general," 4 and making 
her out a second Livingstone in her travels in Africa and the 

1 MPL, 228, 229. 2 76. , 236, 240-1. 3 /&., 242, 243. * Ib. y 244. 


Soudan ; 1 and she did him a like service. While the vogue 
of spiritualism lasted, things went well. Everything that 
they wrote was widely read, and they rose steadily in public 
estimation. There was a spirit who was peculiarly friendly 
with her. Here is what she says about him : 

My John King alone is a sufficient recompense for all ; he 
is a host in himself to me. And yet they call him the double 
of the medium, him and Crookes s Katie King. What sort 
of double can he be when the medium Williams is not here at 
all, but John King in his own person, with his own black beard 
and his white Chinese saucer-upside-down cap, going about 
here in America from one medium to another, and doing me 
the honour of visiting me incessantly, though he has not the 
least resemblance to me? No, John King is a personality, a 
definite, living, spiritual personality. Whether devil or good 
spirit, he is at all events a spirit, and not the medium s proto 

Olcott tells us that she had known John King since 1860, 
and had seen him and talked with him in different countries. 3 
But a peculiarly odious piece of fraudulent spiritism was 
exposed early in 1875, and public interest in the subject 
began to die down. The comrades tried various plans to 
keep their hold on the people, but it was useless. On May 
24th, Madame Blavatsky writes : 

Disaster has come upon us. Dr. Child has appeared in the 
character of the spiritist Antichrist, and, as the Judas of the 
seven councils, has destroyed spiritualism. Even the most 
advanced spiritualists begin to be afraid of public opinion, and 
their high respectability induces many to continue to believe 
in spirits in secret only, and privately. . . . 

I am ready to give my life for the spread of the sacred truth. 
Olcott is helping me as much as he can, both with his pen and 
with pecuniary sacrifices for the cause. He is as passionately 

1 Ib., 245. 2 75 1> 243 Q a i so 247; 2S3> 254> 

3 People from the Other World, 454. 


devoted to spiritism as I am. But he is far from rich and has 
nothing to live on but his literary labours, and he has to keep a 
wife and a whole lot of children. 

Olcott is sitting on heaps of his People from the Other World, 
like Marius on the ruins of Carthage, and thinking bitter things. 
Not a thousand copies of his book have been sold in five months. 1 

On the 1 8th of July she writes again : 

Here, you see, is my trouble, to-morrow there will be nothing 
to eat. Something quite out of the way must be invented. It 
is doubtful if Olcott s Miracle Club will help ; I will fight to 
the last. 2 

Things were in a very bad way. Spiritualism was worked 
out, and the partners were threatened with want. Some 
new source of income had to be found. The Miracle Club 
was clearly meant to be something new and startling to 
catch public attention. But it did not succeed. Her letter 
of the loth September is still very despondent. 

4. Such were the circumstances in which the Theosophi- 
cal Society was founded. Colonel Olcott gives us the dates 
and the steps in the following passage : 

The formation of such a society was suggested by myself 
on the evening of September yth, 1875, in the rooms of Madame 
Blavatsky, at 46 Irving Place, New York City, where a small 
gathering of her friends had assembled to listen to a discourse 
by a Mr. G. H. Felt on the lost canon of proportion of the Ancient 
Egyptians. My views as to the necessity of such a society 
were embodied in a short impromptu address and, receiving 
general assent, a motion was made by Mr. W. Q. Judge and 
adopted, nem. con., that I be elected chairman of the meeting, 
and on my motion Mr. Judge was elected secretary. A com 
mittee to frame Bye-laws was chosen. A report of the proceed 
ings including a digest of my little speech, was published in a 
local daily paper, copied into the Spiritual Scientist, of Boston, 
and thence transferred by Mrs. E. H. Britten into her large 

1 MPI., 251, 250, 252. 2 /&., 253. 


work, "Nineteenth Century Miracles" (p. 296), where the 
curious reader may find it in detail. No previous consulta 
tion had been held about the matter between Madame Blavatsky 
and myself or any body else ; the suggestion was entirely unpre 
meditated and grew out of the discussion provoked by Mr. 
Felt s lecture. . . . 

On the i /th November, the Society was launched as a per 
fected organization. 1 

Olcott became President, Judge Vice-president, and 
Madame Blavatsky Corresponding Secretary. To her 
friend in Russia Madame Blavatsky wrote on the 2gth 
of September : 

Olcott is now organising the Theosophical Society in Newr 
York. It will be composed of learned occultists and cabbalists, 
of philosophes Hermetiques^of the nineteenth century, and of 1 
passionate antiquaries and Egyptologists generally. We want to * 
make an experimental comparison between spiritualism and the 
magic of the ancients by following literally the instructions of, 
the old Cabbalas, both Jewish and Egyptian. I have for many 
years been studying la philosophic Hermetique in theory and 1 
practice, and am every day coming to the conclusion that spirit 
ualism in its physical manifestations is nothing but the Python 
of Paracelsus, i.e., the intangible ether which Reichenbach 
calls Od. The Pythonesses of the ancients used to magnetise 
themselves read Plutarch and his account of the oracular , 
currents, read Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus, the Magia Ada-; 
mica of Eugenius Philalethes, and others. You will always see 
better, and can communicate with the spirits by this means 1 
self-magnetisation. 2 

On December 6th she wrote : 

It is the same spiritualism, but under another name. Now 
you will see if we shall not start the most learned investigations. 
Our vice-treasurer, Newton, is a millionare, and president of 
the New York spiritualists. 3 

1 A Historical Retrospect, 2. 

2 MPI., 256-7. Ib. t 265. 


These are most instructive paragraphs. It is, above 
all, to be noted that the purpose of the Theosophical Society 
is "to make an experimental comparison between spiritual 
ism and the magic of the ancients." There is as yet no 
mention of Buddhism or Hinduism. There is no sugges 
tion that the foundress receives her wisdom in ample meas 
ure, without trouble, through "Masters" from the ancient 
sources. She still struggles forward by experimental com 
parison ; and her occult communications are not with living 
Masters in Tibet, but with the spirits of the dead. "Ma- 
hatma Morya" has not yet appeared above the horizon. 
"John King" is still " the Master of her dreams. " 1 

The facts are simple and natural. Madame Blavatsky 
had been a medium from childhood, and had practised 
spiritualism since 1858, if not from an earlier date, though 
it does not appear that she ever worked as a hired medium. 
She started a spiritualist show in Cairo in 1872. She lived 
by spiritualist writing, and made the most serious protesta 
tions of belief in spiritualism from 1873 to September, 1875. 
The Miracle Club and the Theosophic Society were succes 
sive attempts to start something new and successful, when 
public interest in spiritualism declined. Theosophical 
doctrine at a later date became a blend of Buddhism, Hin 
duism and various forms of occultism ; but, when first 
launched, it was merely an addition of the magic and mys 
ticism of Egypt and of mediaeval Judaism to spiritualism, 
with a view to stimulating the jaded appetite of the people 
of New York. 

It is clear that she had been interested to some extent in 
all these mysterious things for years. She was a woman of 
most unusual temperament, possessing the powers of the 
medium, the clairvoyant, the clairaudient and probably also 
of the automatic writer. She had met "Eliphaz Levy" in 
1 MPL, 254. See below, p. 447. 


Paris ; and she had probably given some attention to jug 
gling, devil-dancing and such like in Egypt and the East. 
The following sentences are probably quite reliable. We 
should not have had this curious passage in her letters at 
all, had it not been that her correspondent took in the 
American papers, and she felt she must apologize once 
more for Colonel Olcott s outrageous exaggerations : 

In a detailed account of the story of Katie King Olcott 
makes out of me something mysteriously terrible, and almost 
leads the public to suspect that I have either sold my soul 
to the devil or am the direct heiress of Count Germain and 
Cagliostro. Do not believe it ; I have merely learnt in Egypt 
and Africa, in India and in the East generally, a great deal 
of what other people do not know. I have made friends with 
dervishes, and I do indeed belong to one mystic society, but 
it does not follow that I have become an Apollonius of Tyana 
in petticoats. 1 

She now began to study modern works on occultism seri 
ously. About the same time she began to draw away from 
her old full belief in spiritualism and to hint that it was not 
spirits, but merely " shells" that caused the marvels. This 
theory comes from " Eliphaz Levy." He taught that when 
a man dies, the spirit departs completely, leaving behind 
in this world only an empty " shell," which, however, has 
the power of producing phenomena. 

Five months before the foundation of the Theosophical 
Society, on the third of April, 1875, Madame Blavatsky 
married in Philadelphia an Armenian, a Russian subject, 
named Michael Bettalay. 2 Yet N. B. Blavatsky was still 

1 MPI., 246-7. The date is the i2th of April, 1875. 

2 The account of this marriage given by Olcott in ODL., I, 54-57, having 
been written after the creation of the virginity myth (see below, p. 260), 
cannot be trusted. He is wrong even with the date. Solovyoff (MPI., 
165) tells how Madame once described the match to him. For the end of 
the marriage see below, p. 226. 


alive ; and there had been no divorce. It was a case of 
bigamy pure and simple. Doubtless she said she was a 
widow; for she practised that piece of deceit for many 
years. She put down her age in the marriage-register as 
thirty-six, while she was actually forty- three. 1 1- 

The new society was scarcely started when serious trouble 
arose from her old spiritualist allies ; for they felt that she 
was faithless to them. She had publicly declared that the 
spirits had brought her a medal and clasp from her father s 
grave, and Olcott had published in his People from the 
Other World a drawing of the medal and clasp. This en 
abled the medium Home to trace her antecedents and to 
obtain information about her private life. He had also 
got to the bottom of some of her fraudulent spiritualistic 
phenomena. He then attacked her publicly on both 
counts. 2 

The new society went fairly well for a time, and then in 
terest steadily waned. Yet the comrades held on, never 
allowing the organization to fall to pieces. 3 

5. For two years Madame Blavatsky toiled at her new 
studies, and on the 2nd of October, 1877, her Isis Unveiled 
was published. It is a really noteworthy book, and that for 
two reasons. First, it was the earliest vigorous attempt 
made to defend the ancient religions against the harsh 
judgments still only too common at the time. Secondly, 
it took up a striking attitude to that great shady border 
land which lies between jugglery and religion. Everything 
mysterious, weird, occult or magical, the unexplored powers 
of the human mind, and all suggestive, or symbolic words, 
acts or things, had an overpowering fascination for her. It 

x I owe the facts in the text to Mr. W. Irving Lewis of the Young Men s 
Christian Association of Philadelphia, who did me the great kindness of 
searching the public records and copying out the details. 

2 MPL, 267-8. 3 A Historical Retrospect, 3. 


is also clear that at a fairly early date she began to realize, 
in a more or less hazy way, certain facts which science has 
only recently perceived and acknowledged. The most im 
portant of these are (a) that spiritualism, clairvoyance, 
hypnotic trances, faith-healing and many of the phenomena 
of dreams and apparitions are, in essentials, identical with 
practices and occurrences which are vouched for in the 
literature of Classical and early Christian times, and with 
much which happens among modern savages ; (b) that a 
considerable proportion of the marvels are genuine, whatever 
the ultimate explanation of their reality may be; and 
(c) that those who make such practices their profession 
sooner or later have recourse to fraud. 1 In the Isis these 
questions are not raised or treated in any scholarly fashion ; 
and the evidence, good, bad and indifferent, is simply thrown 
down in indiscriminate heaps ; so that the book as it stands 
is practically of no scientific value ; yet the personal know 
ledge the authoress had of many of the practices dealt with, 
and her perception that there was something genuine in 
them, gave the book a certain value, and made it very at 
tractive to many people. 

One of the most notable characteristics of the book is its 
violent polemic against modern science and Christianity. 

The authoress so wrote as to lead her readers to under 
stand that she was a woman of vast learning, and that she 
had mastered all the great works on occultism in existence ; 
while the truth is that all the learning it contains is borrowed, 
or rather stolen, from modern books; for in most cases 
there is no acknowledgment. Mr. Wm. Emmette Coleman 
of San Francisco spent three years in making an exhaustive 
analysis of the contents of Madame Blavatsky s writings. 
The following is his statement with regard to the Isis: 2 

1 See art. Clairvoyance by Andrew Lang in ERE. 


By careful analysis I found that in compiling Isis about 100 
books were used. About 1,400 books are quoted from and 
referred to in this work; but, from the 100 books which its 
author possessed, she copied everything in Isis taken from and 
relating to the other 1,300. There are in Isis about 2,100 quo 
tations from and references to books that were copied, at second 
hand, from books other than the original, and of this number 
only about 140 are credited to the books from which Madame 
Blavatsky copied them at second-hand, The others are quoted 
in such a manner as to lead the reader to think that Madame 
Blavatsky had read and utilized the original works, and had 
quoted from them at first-hand, the truth being that these 
originals had evidently never been read by Madame Blavatsky. 

Col. Olcott stated in the Theosophist 1 that Madame Blavat 
sky s library contained about 100 books when she wrote 
the Isis; so that Mr. Coleman s critical judgment is con 
firmed. The following is a list of the books from which the 
largest numbers of quotations were taken : 2 


Dunlap s Sod: the Son of the Man 134 

Ennemoser s History of Magic, English Trans 107 

Demonologia 85 

Dunlap s Spirit History of Man 77 

Salverte s Philosophy of Magic, English Trans 68 

Dunlap s Sod: the Mysteries of A doni 65 

Des Mousseaux s Magie au Dix-neuvi^me Siecle .... 63 

Des Mousseaux s Hants Phenomenes de la Magie ... 45 

King s Gnostics, ist edition 42 

Supernatural religion 40 

Mackenzie s Masonic Cyclopaedia 36 

Zeller s Plato and the Old Academy 35 

There are some students who, while recognizing frankly 
that the bulk of the Isis is built out of materials from 
modern works, are yet inclined to think that it may be 
true, as was stated by Madame Blavatsky and Col. Olcott, 

1 April, 1893, p. 387 f. 2 MPI., 356. 


that large sections of the book were written automatically. 
If this be true, then the explanation must be that her sub 
conscious mind had retained all that she had read on these 
subjects, and gave out the materials when each fit of auto 
matic writing came on. 

The book contains innumerable errors, many of them of 
the most rudimentary type. The commonest Sanskrit 
words are misspelt ; the Buddhist doctrine of transmigra 
tion is grossly misrepresented ; and the Bhagavadgitd is 
confused with the Bhdgavata Pur ana. The following sen 
tences give a sample of the scholarship of the book : 

Apart from the now-discovered fact that the whole story of 
such a massacre of the Innocents is bodily taken from the 
Hindu Bagavedgitta, and Brahmanical traditions, the legend 
refers, moreover, allegorically to an historical fact. King Herod 
is the type of Kansa, the tyrant of Madura. 1 

Yet, to-day, we are asked to believe that all this is the 
wisdom of the Mahatmas. When Madame Blavatsky went 
to India, an elaborate myth was created, to the effect that 
for many years she had been receiving her wisdom from 
these Masters in Tibet. Thus all who accept this myth 
are compelled to explain the Isis as an early exposition of 
orthodox Theosophy. As a matter of fact, it represents the 
state of the writer s mind in 1877 : it does not teach the 
doctrine of reincarnation ; 2 it teaches that man is a being 
of a threefold nature, while the orthodox doctrine makes 
him sevenfold ; there is no mention of the great doctrine 
of brotherhood ; and a great deal of the furious attack on 
Christianity is contrary to the professed standards of to-day. 

6. About the time when the Isis was published, Home s 
Lights and Shadows of Spiritualism also appeared, and its 
exposures of her frauds agitated her so much, and influenced 
public opinion so seriously, that she decided to leave Amer- 

1 II, 199. 2 Olcott acknowledges this frankly, ODL., I, 278. 



ica for ever and go to India. Here is how she wrote in 
December, 1877, two months after the publication of the 
I sis : 

It is for this that I am going for ever to India, and for very 
shame and vexation I want to go where no one will know my 
name. Home s malignity has ruined me for ever in Europe. 1 

Home s evidence must have been irrefragable; for Olcott 
did not attempt to meet it, though asked to do so. 2 

In anticipation of their voyage to India, Olcott wrote to a 
Hindu friend, whom he had met some time before on a voy 
age across the Atlantic, and through him got into corre 
spondence with Svaml Dayananda Sarasvati, the founder 
of the Arya Samaj. As a result of an interchange of letters, 
the two societies were connected the one with the other. 
This continued after the Theosophists reached India ; but 
finally they separated in anger. 3 

On the 25th of May, 1878, Madame Blavatsky was di 
vorced from her Armenian husband. 4 Olcott says that the 
husband obtained the divorce on the ground of desertion. 5 

7. In December, 18^8, " the Theosophical Twins," as 
Madame Blavatsky had named herself and Olcott, sailed 
from New York. They arrived in Bombay in January J 
and that city, for almost three years, was the headquarters 
of the society. Madame Coulomb and her husband, who had 
meantime lost all their money, reached Bombay late in the 
spring of 1880, and were established at headquarters as 
friends and assistants of Madame Blavatsky. 

The opinions and the teaching of the Twins now became 
much more distinctively Indian than they had been in 
America. They declared themselves Buddhists, and en 
tered into close relations with Buddhism in Ceylon. 

The Theosophic Myth also began to take definite shape. 

1 MPI., 278. 2 Ib., 278. 3 ODL., I, 394-407. Above, p. no. 

* P. 221, above. 6 ODL., I, 57. Cf . MPI., 165. 


They diligently taught the existence of the Great White 
Brotherhood and their Lodge in Tibet. The theory took 
shape gradually, and some of the more showy parts have 
been added only recently. The completed myth is as 
follows: A large number of men have reached the stage 
of Adepts in the Wisdom ; and many have become mem 
bers of the Hierarchy which governs this world. 1 These 
beings are far beyond death and transmigration ; yet they 
live upon earth, mostly in Tibet; and a few of them are 
willing to take as apprentices those who have resolved to 
devote themselves to humanity. Since they take pupils, 
they are known as Masters. On account of their great 
ness they are called Mahatmas, great souls. Madame 
Blavatsky, we are told, was selected from the whole human 
race in our days to receive the ancient wisdom from these 
Masters. Her own particular master was Mahatma 
Morya; but Koot Hoomi and others were also ready to 
help. From them she received Theosophy : it was in no 
sense her own creation. As far back as 1851 she hadrnet 
Mahatma Morya, " the Master of her dreams" ; 2 she had 
spent seven years in unremitting study in Tibet; and in 
the intervening years the wisdom had been poured into her 
mind in amplest measure. 

Our narrative has provided sufficient disproof of the 
myth. As late as 1874 she was neither Buddhist nor 
Theosophist, but a Spiritualist, and was ready at any 
moment to lay her head on the block in defence of her faith. 3 
Instead of learning from a living Master, she was the 
confidant of a disembodied spirit, John King. 4 Even when 
the Theosophical Society was founded, there was no men 
tion of India but only of the Kabbala and the Hermetic 
system. 5 

1 See below, pp. 279-80. 2 P. 447, below. 3 Pp. 215-6, above. 
4 P. 217, above. P. 219, above. 


The two travelled a great deal in various parts of India, 
and were usually received by the Hindu community with 
acclamation. The society steadily grew in numbers and 
popularity, largely as a result of the new theory of the 
Masters. For, wherever they went, miraculous events, 
which they called " phenomena," appeared; and Madame 
Blavatsky attributed all to her Masters, or to the occult 
knowledge she had derived from them. If some prominent 
European were inquiring about Theosophy, a letter from 
Koot Hoomi would be sure to fall on his head. Telegrams 
from the Masters would come tumbling through the air 
a precipitated " in Theosophic phrase but, strangely 
enough, bearing the stamp of the British Telegraph office. 
The Masters shewed themselves now and then in one of 
their bodies to selected people. Lost articles were found, 
and new things arrived in unheard-of ways. Half a cig 
arette, or a lock of Madame Blavatsky s hair, would be 
transported from one place to another by " occult" means. 
Probably a percentage of the phenomena were genuine, 
as we should expect in the case of a woman of Madame 
Blavatsky s powers; but no carefully sifted evidence has 
ever been given for any of them; while evidence exists 
which proves clearly that many of them were fraudulent ; 
and, as to the Masters, nothing worth the name of evidence 
has ever been produced for their existence. 1 

8. One of the most famous occurrences took place at 
Simla. There was a dinner-party there one evening, in 
the house of Mr. A, 0. Hume, a distinguished Indian 
Civilian, holding very high office under Government. 
After dinner it was proposed that Madame Blavatsky 
should give an example of her powers. After some talk 
she asked Mrs. Hume whether she had lost anything she 
would like very much to recover. In reply she described 
1 P. 447, below. 


a brooch, which some little time before had passed out of 
the family. Madame Blavatsky indicated a spot in the 
garden where they might look for it. They looked, and the 
brooch was found. 

Mr. and Mrs. Hume accepted the occurrence as a genuine 
occult phenomenon. It was described in glowing terms in 
the papers ; and it has been continuously used by Theos- 
ophists ever since as evidence of the truth of their system. 
Yet the explanation is simple and undeniable. The truth 
came out in the following way : 

The publication of the incident in the Pioneer gave rise to a 
good deal of discussion in the daily papers of the period. The 
Englishman pointed out a number of awkward lacunas in the 
account given, and was especially anxious to know something 
of the "person" who had allowed the brooch "to pass out of 
their possession." It remarked 

"There is nothing to show to whom Mrs. Hume s friend, to 
whom she had given the brooch, parted with it. It might have 
been to some one who had communicated the fact and given 
the brooch to Madame. A very slight hint in the conversation 
might have turned Mrs. Hume s thoughts, almost uncon 
sciously, towards her lost brooch," etc. 

The Bombay Gazette, of October i3th, 1880, after noticing 
this article, went on 

"We can furnish the Englishman with a small item of intelli 
gence. At the end of last and the commencement of this year, 
a young gentleman who had resided at Simla previously, and 
was, we believe, well known to the Hume family, sojourned for 
some months in Bombay, and was part of the time a guest of 
Madame Blavatsky at Girgaum. The latter lady s connection 
with this gentleman may or may not have had anything to do 
with the affair of the brooch, though to our mind it is as prob 
able as that the presence of the brooch in the flower bed was due 
to occult phenomena." 

Three days later a correspondent of The Times of India 

"It may interest some of your readers on the other side of 


India to learn that some months ago an individual who had been 
immediately connected with some of the members of Mr. Hume s 
family at Simla arrived in Bombay. He was, I believe, hos 
pitably received by Madame Blavatsky, if, indeed, he did not 
spend some weeks at her house in Girgaum, and when he left for 
England eventually, the arrangements for his passage were made 
through the agency of Colonel Olcott." 

All this is very suggestive ; but still more so is a pretty idyll 
narrated by the Civil and Military Gazette a month or two 
later : - 

"Once upon a time a certain Daphnis had received as a gage 
d amour from his Chloe, a brooch, an ancestral gem, formerly 
the property of Chloe s Mamma, which probably poor Chloe 
considered would in the course of happy time revert to her 
possession, when Daphnis and all that was his should be her own. 
But the course of true love never did run smooth, and the un 
happy Daphnis, separated from Chloe, and driven by impe- 
cuniosity, deposited his pretty gift with an accommodating 
pawn-broker for a consideration meaning doubtless in 
future time to redeem the precious pledge. The trinket chanced, 
however, to attract the notice of a very famous spiritualist and 
medium, a lady who dealt in mysteries of psychic force and 
powers of disintegration and reintegration of matter. There is 
nothing to prevent a spiritualist, however magically endowed, 
from dealing also in mundane affairs after the usual humdrum 
and worldly fashion, and in this instance the famous lady chose 
to achieve the possession of the object of her fancy by the ordi 
nary method of paying for it. Time rolled on, and it happened 
in the fulness thereof that the celebrated medium and Chloe s 
Mamma became acquainted, and under some circumstances, 
which attained perhaps an undeserved notoriety, the brooch 
became again the property of its original possessor. 1 

Two further points came out after this account was printed. 
Mr. Hormusji Seervai, a Bombay jeweller, saw an account 
of the miracle in the papers, and realized from the descrip 
tion of the brooch that he had repaired it for Madame 

1 Collapse, 46-7. 


Blavatsky. 1 Finally, the Rev. George Patterson, when on a 
visit to Bombay at the end of 1884, learned that Madame 
Blavatsky bought the pawn-ticket from the young man 
and redeemed the trinket. 

There cannot be the slightest question as to the truth 
of the explanation ; for not one of the facts has ever been so 
much as questioned. Mr. Hume himself publicly acknowl 
edged that the famous phenomenon was a piece of well- 
planned fraud. Yet the Theosophical Society still uses 
this fraud, indefensible and undefended, as an example of 
occult agency. 2 

9. The Theosophic conception of the world, man and 
religion, which is nowhere given in the I sis, now gradually 
took shape. A brief analysis of the system is given below. 3 
The main channel through which the fresh teaching found 
its way to Theosophists and the public was a series of long 
letters, which Madame Blavatsky averred were written and 
sent by the Master known as Koot Hoomi. Parts of these 
letters were published by Mr. Jinnett, an Englishman who 
was editor of the Pioneer and had become a Theosophist, 
in his books, Esoteric Buddhism and The Occult World; but 
much of the material was so poor that it had to be eliminated 
as rubbish. 4 

The Occult World was published in June, i&&i. Mr. H. 
Kiddle of New York read the volume, and discovered in one 
of the letters a long passage copied almost verbatim from 
an address delivered by him at Lake Pleasant, August 15, 
1880, and reported the same month in The Banner of Light. 
The date of the letter was two months later. When this 
was made public, a ridiculous reply, purporting to come 

1 Mr. Hodgson called and learned the facts from him personally. Pro 
ceedings, IX, 267. 

2 Sinnett s Occult World, pp. 66-79 (eighth edition, 1906). 

3 P. 278 ff. Proceedings, IX, 304. 


from the Mahatma, was published, but no one was de 
ceived. It was a case of deliberate plagiarism; and the 
final proof that it was so is found in the fact that in the more 
recent editions of The Occult World the passage is omitted. 1 

10. In December, 1882, the headquarters of the society 
were moved to Adyar, Madras. The Coulombs went 
along with the rest of the staff. M. Coulomb was Librarian, 
while his wife was Assistant Corresponding Secretary of 
the society. Besides that, Madame Coulomb acted as 
housekeeper, while her husband took charge of all repairs 
or additions to the buildings. 

Madame Blavatsky occupied a large upper room in 
the main bungalow. See plan B on page 235. Early 
in 1883 a new room for occult purposes was built against 
the west wall of her room. There were two windows in the 
west wall. The south window, transformed into a door, 
became the ordinary entrance into the new room, which 
was called the Occult Room. The north window was 
removed, and a single layer of bricks filled up the aperture 
on the Occult Room side, leaving a recess about 15 in. 
deep on the other side, in Madame Blavatsky s bedroom. 
Part of the Occult Room was screened off by means of a 
curtain to form a small room for the Shrine. This was a 
wooden cupboard which, by means of two stout wires, was 
hung on the wall over the thin brick partition where the 
north window had been. In the Shrine was placed a por 
trait of the Master, Koot Hoomi. The doors of the Shrine 
were occasionally thrown open to Theosophists, that they 
might see the master s portrait. Hindus bowed reverently 

1 Let any one compare pp. 101-2 of the third edition with pp. 125-6 of 
the eighth edition. The plagiarized passage begins at "Ideas rule the 
world," and runs down to "speck of dirt." No acknowledgment of the 
omission is made. I owe this point to the Rev. John Hackett of Hamp- 
stead. Cf. also what occurs on p. 257, below. 


before him and burned incense to him. 1 Both Indians and 
Europeans were accustomed to present their requests in the 
form of letters. The door would then be shut ; and, when it 
was re-opened, a reply from the Master would be found 
within it. On one occasion a broken saucer was put in 
beside him. When the Shrine was re-opened, it was found 
intact. From this time onward many of the most striking 
phenomena were connected with the Shrine. 

By the year 1884 the Theosophical Society had attained 
great proportions. There were over a hundred branches in 
India, and Hindus everywhere rejoiced in its work. Nor is 
their enthusiasm hard to understand. Theosophy provided 
a new defence of Hinduism for the thousands of educated 
men whose Western education had filled them with shiver 
ing doubts about their religion. It condemned Christian 
missionaries as impudent and ignorant intruders, who dared 
to criticize Hinduism and Buddhism, the two faiths which 
alone among all the religions of the world still taught clearly 
the truths of the Ancient Wisdom. All the great and good 
of every age had known and taught this wisdom ; but, while 
it had been lost or beclouded elsewhere, Hinduism and Bud 
dhism still retained its priceless principles; and in Tibet 
lived immortal teachers who were now, through Madame 
Blavatsky, revealing the Wisdom in all its glory to the 
whole human race. Yet even this most flattering procla 
mation would not have won its way as it did apart from the 
phenomena. There can be no question that it was these 
marvels that trumpeted the cause throughout India, and 
convinced the Hindu of the truth of the new propaganda. 

ii. In 1884 a great crisis in the history of Theosophy 
occurred. As Theosophists still assert that the whole was 
a missionary plot, and that Madame Blavatsky came out of 
it triumphant, we cannot dismiss it in a paragraph. In order 

1 Cf. the Radha Soamis and the Deva Samaj, pp. 170 and 179, above. 



Sitting Boom 


Ward ro 

I Door 

Bed Room. 



Occult Room." 





to place our readers in a position to judge for themselves, we 
shall give, in as brief a form as possible, an orderly outline 
of the significant events of the crisis and shall also indicate 
where the detailed evidence produced on both sides may 
be seen and examined. 

a. On the 2ist of February, 1884, Madame Blavatsky, 
Colonel Olcott and a young Calcutta Brahman, Mohini 
Mohan Chatterji, sailed from Bombay for Europe. By 
Madame Blavatsky s explicit instructions, the Coulombs 
were left in charge of her rooms at the headquarters, Madras. 
They were to reside in them, and to look after her furniture 
and dogs. No one was to disturb them. There is the best 
evidence possible for these statements. The written in 
structions have been published ; 1 and the following is a 
letter written by Madame Blavatsky, and printed in Dr. 
Hartmann s pamphlet published in September : 2 


April, 2-84. 

She swore to me that she would take care of my rooms, only 
asking me to let it be known that she alone had the right over all, 
and would have and keep the key. Having told Dr. Hartmann 
that he was welcome to my books and my desk in my absence, 
she made a vow when alone with me, and declared that if I 
allowed one single person to have access to my rooms, she would 
answer for nothing ; that the shrine would be desecrated, 
etc. 3 

Damodar, a Hindu who had become a Theosophist and was 
one of Madame Blavatsky s secretaries, had the keys of the 
Occult Room and the Shrine. 4 Only these three had free 
access to the penetralia at headquarters. The affairs of the 
society were left by Colonel Olcott, the President, in the 
hands of a Committee of seven. 

1 Collapse, 19. 3 Report of Observations, 32. 

2 Below, p. 240. * Proceedings, IX, 225, 373-4. 


b. On the 2gth of February one member of this Com 
mittee, Dr. Hartmann by name, arrived at headquarters ; 
and two or three days later a meeting of the Committee 
was held. In order that they might sit in quiet, Dr. Hart 
mann proposed that they should meet in Madame Blavat- 
sky s room upstairs ; but, to his amazement, the Coulombs 
refused to give them admittance. The consequence was a 
bitter quarrel between the Coulombs, on the one side, and 
the members of the Committee and the other residents at 
headquarters, on the other. Madame Coulomb said that 
she had many secrets which she would tell, if they continued 
to molest her. 1 She said there were sliding panels in the 
walls by which phenomena were created, and secret panels 
in the Shrine, by mean of which the letters from the 
Master and other things were introduced from Madame 
Blavatsky s room behind. She also talked of the money 
which she had lent Madame Blavatsky in Egypt and 
which had not been repaid. 2 Hence Dr. Hartmann and 
others wrote to Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott, 
complaining of the Coulombs. 

So serious did matters become in the meantime, that the 
Committee decided to impeach them in an informal manner, 
and expel them from headquarters. But on March 22nd, 
while they were drawing up the charges against them, 
Damodar laid before them a letter, 3 which he declared had 
been brought from Koot Hoomi by a chela in his astral 
body, advising them not to turn out the Coulombs. Natu 
rally, the Committee were rather upset to find such an 
authority interfering to save the traitors. Yet, in the face 
of a message direct from the Master, they dared not turn 

1 Collapse, 24, 25, 34 flf. She had spoken earlier to many people in the 
same strain. 

2 Above, p. 213. 

8 Given in full in Proceedings, DC, 278. 


them out of doors. Consequently, as Dr. Hartman says, 
an armistice was concluded with them. 

After the peace was patched up, the Coulombs, Mr. Lane 
Fox and Damodar went to Ootacamund for a holiday. 
Meanwhile, the letters despatched early in March, reached 
the founders in Paris ; and they replied, in letters written 
on the ist and 2nd of April, to the Coulombs and to others. 
These letters reached Madras on the 25th of April. On 
the 26th, the very day when the mail from Europe reached 
Ootacamund, a letter 1 purporting to come from the Master, 
and directed to Dr. Hartmann, was forwarded to the latter 
by Damodar, from Ootacamund. This letter said that the 
Coulombs were plotting. Therefore, when they returned 
from Ootacamund, the Committee decided to expel them. 
On the iyth of May, M. Coulomb gave up the keys he held, 
and several of the sliding doors and panels which Madame 
Coulomb had talked about were discovered. 2 On the 23rd 
of May they were finally forced to leave headquarters. 

c. We now turn to Europe for a moment. The Theo- 
sophical Society had by this time attained so much notoriety 
that the London Society for Psychical Research appointed, 
in May, i884, 3 a Committee for the taking of such evidence 
as to the alleged phenomena as might be offered by mem 
bers of that body at the time in England, or as could be col 
lected elsewhere. The journey of the founders to Europe 
thus came at a very fortunate time, and the Research 
Society took full advantage of it. 4 

d. On the gth of August Madame Coulomb called on the 
Editor of The Madras Christian College Magazine, and placed 
in his hands some forty letters, and asked him whether he 
cared to publish them, as they contained sufficient evidence 

1 Parts of it were published by Dr. Hartmann in his September pamphlet 
(p. 240, below) and these are reproduced in Proceedings, IX, 279. 

2 Proceedings, IX, 223. 3 Ib., IX, 201. 4 Ib., IX, 202. 


to expose the fraudulent nature of the phenomena which 
had made so much stir in India. The Editor asked for a 
few days to look into the matter. 1 

A few days later the General Council of the Theosophical 
Society through their Chairman, Dr. Hartmann, sent out a 
circular letter of inquiry to a number of Theosophists who 
had visited headquarters, asking them what they knew 
about the Shrine. 2 

Meantime the Editor of the Christian College Magazine 
was examining the documents left in his hands. Most of 
them were letters from Madame Blavatsky to Madame 
Coulomb, but there were several other things, a letter 
from Mrs. Carmichael (the wife of an Indian Civilian) to 
Madame Blavatsky with a letter to Madame Coulomb 
written on the back, a receipt for a telegram, etc. The 
Editor submitted the documents to the most skilled opinion 
available in Madras, among others to certain bankers, and 
they pronounced them genuine. 3 But the letters authen 
ticated themselves. No one could look through them and 
believe them to be forgeries. The question of the hand 
writing was quite a subordinate one. The letters con 
tained scores of references to leading Hindus and Govern 
ment Officials all over India with details of what happened 
when Madame Blavatsky was in their houses and when she 
met them casually. No forger would have dared to invent 
such details. If they had been forged, a few personal in 
quiries would have at once exposed them. The style was 
also Madame Blavatsky s, brilliant, vivacious, full of sur 
prises and sudden changes. The documents were thus 
manifestly genuine. As they contained numerous instruc 
tions to Madame Coulomb for the production of phenomena, 
the Editor decided to publish a number of extracts from 
them, so as to expose Madame Blavatsky and her frauds. 

1 Collapse, 29. Proceedings, IX, 223, 325. 3 Ib., IX, 277. 


Accordingly, an article appeared in the Christian College 
Magazine, on September loth, 1 containing extracts from 
some dozen letters, with sufficient comment to make them 
comprehensible. The letters were almost all in French. 
The text and the English translation were given in parallel 
columns. The Editor quoted only such paragraphs as were 
necessary to prove the fraud, and omitted numerous pas 
sages dealing with the private affairs of individuals, both 
European and Indian; and most of the letters were not 
used at all. 

The publication of this article caused immense excitement 
throughout India. Most of the newspapers recognized 
that it was a genuine exposure, but some doubted whether 
the Editor had not been hoaxed by forgeries. The leading 
Theosophists, on the other hand, put the whole matter down 
as a conspiracy on the part of the missionaries. 

e. Mr. W. Q. Judge, who took part in the foundation of 
the society in i8y5, 2 was in Europe in 1884, and was sent 
by Olcott from Paris to Madras. 3 He arrived there some 
time in May or June. 

/. Dr. Hartmann now drew up as vigorous a defence 
of Madame Blavatsky as he could and published it, some 
time in September, with the title, Report of Observations 
made during a nine-months stay at the Head-quarters of the 
Theosophical Society at Adyar (Madras), India.* A rough 
and inaccurate plan of the chief rooms at headquarters, 
probably the work of Judge, 5 appeared in it. It is repro 
duced above, plan A, page 234. Hartmann denied that 
the letters which had been published were genuine, and 
charged the missionaries with forming a conspiracy against 
the Theosophical Society. He confesses the existence at 

1 Reproduced in Collapse, 1-15. 2 See above, p. 218. 

1 MPL, 125. The passage is quoted below, p. 248. 

4 Proceedings, IX, 230. 6 See pp. 452-3, below. 


headquarters of such sliding panels, trapdoors, holes in the 
wall, etc., as could be used for the production of occult 
phenomena; but he asserts, that M. Coulomb made all 
these after Madame Blavatsky s departure, in order to ruin 
her reputation. The whole conspiracy, however, would 
be unmasked and the innocence of Madame Blavatsky 
established in a court of law. 

We have noted Judge s arrival above because of the 
following grave incident in which he was concerned. The 
chief facts are given in a written statement by Dr. Hart- 
mann from which we quote the following : 

Of the existence of a movable back to the Shrine and a filled- 
up aperture in the wall, none of us knew anything, and although 
superficial examinations were made, they divulged nothing; 
because to make a thorough examination, it would have been 
necessary to take the Shrine down, and we were prevented from 
doing this by the superstitious awe with which Mr. Damodar 
K. Mavalankar regarded the Shrine, and who looked upon every 
European who dared to touch or handle the "sacred " shrine as a 

At about the time when Major-General Morgan sent his invita 
tion to Mr. Patterson to come to headquarters, that examina 
tion was made, and it was found that the back of the Shrine 
could be removed, and on moistening the wall behind the Shrine 
with a wet cloth, it was found that an aperture had existed, 
which had been plastered up. ... 

I must confess that it seemed to me that if at that inoppor 
tune moment this new discovery, to which I then alluded in the 
papers (see Madras Mail), would have been made public, it 
would have had a bad effect on the public mind . . . 

A gentleman who was present, and who shared my opinions, 
was of the opinion that the Shrine had been too much desecrated 
to be of any more use, and he burned the Shrine in my presence. 1 

What they found was that the back of the Shrine consisted 
of three movable panels, and that there had been an aper- 

1 Proceedings, IX, 225. 


ture in the thin brick partition behind; 1 so that there 
had actually been direct communication between Madame 
Blavatsky s room and the interior of the Shrine, precisely 
as Madame Coulomb had said. 2 The aperture had been 
plastered up when Madame Blavatsky sailed for Europe. 
Among those who examined the Shrine and made the dis 
covery were Dr. Hartmann, Mr. Judge and Mr. T. Vijaya- 
raghava Charloo (known as Ananda) ; 3 and it was Judge 
who burned the Shrine. 4 The date of the discovery was 
September 2oth. 5 

Dr. Hartmann and Theosophists generally have always 
maintained that the sliding panels in the back of the Shrine 
and the hole in the wall behind it, which made it possible 
to get access to the Shrine surreptitiously from Madame 
Blavatsky s room, were made by M. Coulomb after Madame 
Blavatsky sailed for Europe in February, 1884. It is passing 
strange that they destroyed the Shrine, if they were really 
convinced that M. Coulomb had made these arrangements 
in order to ruin Madame Blavatsky. Why did they 
not preserve this most notable piece of evidence of his 
villainy ? 

The truth is that it is totally impossible to believe that the 
sliding panels in the Shrine and the hole in the wall were 
made by M. Coulomb after Madame Blavatsky s departure ; 
for while the Coulombs had charge of her rooms, Damodar 
had the keys of the Occult Room and the Shrine? How then 
could M. Coulomb insert sliding panels in the back of the 
shrine, and dig a hole through the wall without the know 
ledge of Damodar ? The burning of the Shrine shows that 
Judge and Hartmann had had some glimpse of this truth. 

1 See p. 232, above, and plan B, page 235. 2 See p. 237, above. 

8 Proceedings, IX, 224. On this page a full and clear account is given of 
the removal of the Shrine. 

4 Ib., XXIV, 141. 6 Ib., IX, 227. See p. 247, below. 

8 P. 236, above. 


Clearly they were conscious that no defence of Madame 
Blavatsky was possible while the Shrine remained in exist 

g. It is important that Hartmann s bold promise of a 
lawsuit should be kept in mind. In making it Dr. Hart- 
mann did not stand alone. Judge was especially bold in 
promising a full exposure in court ; 1 and Theosophists in 
every part of India loudly proclaimed that the missionaries 
would be prosecuted, and their conspiracy laid bare. So 
strong was confidence at headquarters that again and again 
it was prophesied that they would rue the day when first 
they accepted the lying evidence of two dismissed servants. 2 
The London Lodge published a pamphlet in which it was 
stated that the matter would go to Court; and Madame 
Blavatsky also stated in an interview with a representative 
of The Pall Mall Gazette that she was hurrying to India 
to commence proceedings against the missionaries. 2 

But, while this was what she said in public, she wrote 
in a very different strain to M. Solovyoff. We quote part 
of her letter. The date is early in October, 1884 : 

"First of all, you can say to each and all in Paris that since, 
in spite of all my efforts, in spite of my having sacrificed to the 
society life and health and my whole future, I am suspected not 
only by my enemies but even by my own theosophists. I shall 
cut off the infected limb from the sound body ; that is, I shall 
cut myself off from the society. They have all clutched at the 
idea with such delight, Olcott and Madame Gebhard and the 
rest, that I have not even met with any pity. I leave the moral 
to you. Of course, I shall not depart into the wilderness 
till Olcott, who starts for India by the first steamer, has arranged 
matters at Adyar, and exposed and proved the conspiracy 
they gave the Coulomb woman 10,000 rupees 3 as is now 
proved, in order to destroy the society ; but when all this has 
settled down, then I shall go off, where, I do not know yet ; 

1 Collapse, 51-2. 2 /&., 49. 3 See below, p. 246. 


it is all the same, besides, so long as it is somewhere that nobody 
knows. 1 

h. In October a second article appeared in The Christian 
College Magazine, 2 in which the missionaries, in reply to Dr. 
Hartmann s pamphlet and to other criticisms which Theoso- 
phists had raised against them, published a further instal 
ment of letters, and indicated still more clearly the great 
strength of their position. 

i. So keen was the interest in the Psychical Society on the 
question of the Theosophical phenomena and of the gen 
uineness of the letters published in The Christian College 
Magazine that the Committee appointed by them to con 
sider the phenomena determined to send one of their num 
ber to India to make careful scientific investigations on the 
spot. Mr. Richard Hodgson, B.A., of St. John s College, 
Cambridge, was sent out at the expense of Prof. Henry )#&* 
Sidgwick. He arrived in Madras on the i8th of December. 
On the 2oth of December Madame Blavatsky and Colonel 
Olcott arrived at the headquarters in Madras. 

The following is Mr. Hodgson s own statement of his 
attitude of mind : 

Before proceeding it may be well for me to state that the 
general attitude which I have for years maintained with respect 
to various classes of alleged phenomena which form the subject of 
investigation by our Society enabled me, as I believe, to approach 
the task I had before me with complete impartiality ; while the 
conclusions which I held and still hold concerning the important 
positive results achieved by our Society in connection with the 
phenomena of Telepathy, of which, moreover, I have had 
instances in my own experience, both spontaneous and experi 
mental, and both as agent and percipient, formed a further 
safeguard of my readiness to deal with the evidence set before 
me without prejudice as to the principles involved. Indeed, 
whatever prepossessions I may have held were distinctly in 
1 MPL, 94-95. 2 Reproduced in Collapse, 15-42. 


favour of Occultism and Madame Blavatsky a fact which, 
I think I may venture to say, is well known to several leading 
Theosophists. 1 

Mr. Hodgson s actions fully bear out his statement. When 
he arrived in Madras, the Editor of The Christian College 
Magazine offered him hospitality, but he declined it ; and 
a day or two later the Editor heard that he had gone to re 
side at the Theosophic headquarters ; and there he resided 
all the time he was in India (nearly three months), except 
when he went on short visits to places at a distance from 
Madras. Madame Blavatsky acknowledges frankly that 
he was friendly to the Theosophist cause when he arrived 
in India. She writes to M. Solovyoff : 

It was he (i.e. Hartmann) who turned Hodgson, the repre 
sentative sent by the London Psychical Society to inquire into 
the phenomena in India, from a friend, as he was at first, into an 
enemy. 2 

Mr. Hodgson acted wisely, I believe, in putting up at 
headquarters. He thus gave Madame Blavatsky, Colonel 
Olcott and all their followers the fullest possible opportu 
nity of explaining every suspicious circumstance and giving 
all the evidence they possessed to prove that the letters 
which had been published were forgeries ; while he himself 
was able to become acquainted with every corner of the 
rooms at headquarters, except in so far as the Theosophic 
leaders had destroyed the evidence. 3 

The Editor of The Christian College Magazine handed 
the incriminating letters to Mr. Hodgson for examination, 
on condition that they should be returned, as they were the 
property of Madame Coulomb, and were to be handed 

1 Proceedings, IX, 208. 

2 MPL, 124. Quoted below, p. 248. Cf. also Proceedings, XXIV, 135. 
See above, pp. 241-2. 


back to her as soon as all danger of a prosecution should 
have passed away. 1 

Mr. Hodgson interviewed the people who supplied the 
materials for building and repairs, traced the vases, saucers, 
flowers, etc., which appeared in the phenomena, to the shops 
or other places whence they came, and endeavoured to fit 
these facts into the accounts given by those who witnessed 
the phenomena. He tested all the details of the incrimi 
nating letters, cross-questioned witnesses, examined the 
places referred to, and compared the documents with 

1 As Theosophists have persistently declared that the Missionaries 
bought the letters for a very large price, the truth must be set down here. 
The Editor of The Christian College Magazine writes in April, 1885 (Collapse, 

54-5) = 

" We did not buy the letters. They are still Madame Coulomb s property 
and will remain so. Two, at least, of the members of the Committee of 
Investigation Dr. Hartmann and Mr. Subba Row know this, and have 
known it since Sept. 2yth of last year. On that date the Editor of The 
Christian College Magazine, accompanied by Mr. Gribble, the Rev. A. Alex 
ander and the Rev. J. E. Padfield, visited the Headquarters of the Theo- 
sophical Society, where they met Messrs. Hartmann, Judge, Subba Row and 
Damodar. At the close of the interview Dr. Hartmann asked what we had 
paid Madame Coulomb, and remarked that it was rumoured we had pur 
chased the letters for Rs. 10,000. He was informed that such a rumour 
was wholly false, that we had not purchased the letters, and that Madame 
Coulomb had only been paid at our ordinary rates for work done. On our 
return we asked the gentlemen who had accompanied us to write down 
separately their recollections of the interview. On reference to these docu 
ments we find the following remarks of Dr. Hartmann s recorded. We 
quote from Mr. Alexander s account : 

" Dr. Hartmann replied . . . that this confirmed what he had always 
thought, that Madame Coulomb was acting not for money but for revenge. 

" We may add to this that the letters were put into our hands absolutely 
and unconditionally, with the single proviso that they should be returned 
when we were done with them. The first suggestion as to payment for work 
done came not from Madame Coulomb but from us ; and from first to last 
we have paid her the comparatively paltry sum of Rs. 150." 

One of the letters was lent to Mr. W. Emmette Coleman of San Fran 
cisco. He promised to return it, but did not do so. It was probably burned, 
along with his other papers, in the great fire in San Francisco. See p. 263. 


acknowledged specimens of Madame Blavatsky s hand 
writing in matters of spelling, phraseology/ style, etc. No 
other person, whether Theosophist or not, had the oppor 
tunity of examining all the witnesses personally, of seeing 
all the rooms and other places involved in the matters at 
issue, and of handling all the documents. Any one who, 
from a sincere desire to get at what actually happened in 
these matters, will work patiently and carefully through 
the multitude of details supplied in all the sources, will 
realize with what extreme honesty and with what infinite 
pains Hodgson collected and sifted the evidence. 

As he proceeded with this persistent scientific search for 
the facts, it became evident that the Theosophic leaders 
were not trustworthy witnesses, that they contradicted 
themselves and each other in multitudes of particulars. 
Each new piece of cross-questioning on Mr. Hodgson s 
part produced a new version of some occurrence. Madame 
Blavatsky, 2 Colonel Olcott, 3 Hartmann 4 and Damodar 5 " 
all produced a very bad impression. 

Here is what happened when Mr. Hodgson asked his first 
questions about the shrine in December, 1884 : 

Madame Blavatsky professed ignorance on the subject, 
saying she had been unable to discover what had been done with 
the Shrine. Mr. Damodar and Mr. Hartmann both denied 
having any knowledge of it, and it was only after repeated and 
urgent requests to be told what had happened that I learnt from 
the halting account given by Mr. Damodar and Dr. Hartmann 
that the Shrine had been removed from the Occult Room (see 
Plan 6 ) into Mr. Damodar s room at about mid-day of September 
2oth, that on the following morning, at 9 o clock, they found the 
Shrine had been taken away, and they had not seen it since. 

1 See below, pp. 256-7. 

2 Proceedings, XXIV, 133. 

3 Ib. t IX, 210, 237-239, 309, 311, 335-6. 

4 Ib., IX, 220-226. 5 Ib., IX, 210, 226-237, 312. 8 Above, p. 235. 


They threw out suggestions implying that the Coulombs or the 
missionaries might have stolen it. 1 

Mr. Hodgson questioned every Theosophist who had sent 
in written answers to Dr. Hartmann about the Shrine and 
any other one who could throw any light on its history, and 
in this way gradually pieced together a certain amount of 
information about it. All the evidence showed that no one 
had examined the Shrine carefully before the 2oth of Sep 
tember. Every statement made about examinations before 
that date proved altogether untrustworthy. But he was 
kept in ignorance of the burning of the Shrine until the i3th 
of March. 2 

j. We may next see what Madame Blavatsky herself 
wrote about Dr. Hartmann. The letter was written from 
Naples in May, 1885, to M. Solovyoff, after her final return 
from India, but six months before Mr. Hodgson s report 
appeared : 

If your heart is not attracted to Hartmann, you are quite 
right. This dreadful man has done me more harm by his de 
fence, and often by his deceit, than the Coulombs by open lying. 
One moment he was defending me in the papers, the next he was 
writing such equivokes that even the papers hostile to me could 
only open their mouths and say : There is a friend for you ! 
One day he defended me in letters to Hume and other theoso- 
phists, and then hinted at such infamies that all his correspond 
ents went against me. It was he who turned Hodgson, the repre 
sentative sent by the London Psychical Society to inquire into 
the phenomena in India, from a friend as he was at first, into an 
enemy. He is a cynic, a liar, cunning and vindictive, and his 
jealousy of the Master, and his envy for any one on whom the 
Master bestows the least attention, are simply repulsive. He 
has turned our devoted Judge, when despatched by Olcott from 
Paris to Adyar, into our enemy. He set against me at one time 
all the Europeans in Adyar, Lane Fox, Mr. and Mrs. Oakley, 

1 Proceedings, IX, 220. See the truth, above, pp. 241-2. 

2 Below, p. 250. 


Brown ; the Hindus alone, who hate him and have long since 
taken his measure, he was unable to stir. Now I have been 
able to save the society from him, by agreeing to take him with 
me under the plea that he is a doctor. The society, and Olcott 
at their head, were so afraid of him that they did not dare expel 
him. 1 

There thus need be no doubt as to Dr. Hartmann s charac 
ter as a witness. 

k. From the time that Madame Blavatsky and Colonel 
Olcott reached Madras, on the 2oth December, 1884 (two 
days after Hodgson s arrival), the missionaries and the Cou 
lombs watched and waited eagerly, looking for the promised 
suit-at-law which was to establish the innocence of Madame 
Blavatsky, prove the Coulombs forgers and expose the 
missionaries as conspirators. But week after week passed, 
and nothing happened. The blustering ceased. Hart- 
mann, who had boasted by word of mouth and in print, did 
nothing. Colonel Olcott and Judge were mute. Madame 
Blavatsky initiated no proceedings in the Law Courts to 
clear her character. Finally, in February, there was issued 
from headquarters a pamphlet, the work of Dr. Hartmann 
in the main, and bearing the following title, Report of the 
Result of an Investigation into the charges against Madame 
Blavatsky, brought by the Missionaries of the Scottish Free 
Church at Madras and examined by a Committee appointed 
for that purpose by the General Council of the Theosophical 
Society. Madras, Scottish Press, i885- 2 This pamphlet 
contains the written replies sent in by Theosophists in 
response to the letter circulated in August, 3 but no mention 
is made of the discoveries made by Dr. Hartmann and Mr. 
Judge in September, 4 nor of the effect of Hodgson s examina- 

1 MPI., 124-5. 

2 Collapse, 48; Proceedings, XXIV, 134 n. 

3 See above, p. 239. 4 See above, pp. 241-2. 


tion on those who had sent in replies. 1 It is stated in the 
pamphlet that there is to be no prosecution of the mission 
aries. What a fiasco ! A pamphlet instead of a prosecu 
tion ! 

What was it that choked the bluster of the Theosophists 
and stilled the last threat of a prosecution ? In the inner 
^circles of Theosophy it is acknowledged that Sinnett, Olcott 
and the others were afraid to have Madame Blavatsky with 
her unbridled tongue go into the witness-box : as a witness 
she was impossible. That doubtless weighed also, but the 
real cause of their terror, without any doubt, was the search 
ing examination made by Hodgson. Until he came and sub 
jected them to his trained scientific mode of inquiry, they 
doubtless believed they had an irrefragable case. But 
that ordeal made everybody at headquarters realize that 
no Theosophic leader could stand cross-examination for a 
quarter of an hour, and that many of the phenomena could 
be shewn to be fraudulent by a few carefully directed in 
quiries. To go to court would be black ruin. The follow 
ing quotation will make this plain and will also explain the 
events that followed. Hodgson writes : 

It was on the evening of March i3th, at a conference between 
Dr. Hartmann, Mr. and Mrs. Cooper-Oakley, Mr. Hume and 
myself, that Dr. Hartmann finally confessed that " nobody was 

allowed to touch that d Shrine," and he then related the 

incident described on p. 224 of my Report, 2 concerning the dis 
covery of the sliding panel of the Shrine and the subsequent 
destruction of the Shrine itself. I had learned from Mr. A. D. 
Ezekiel, in Bombay, that he had discovered independently that 
there had once been a hole in the wall behind the Shrine, but 
that it had been carefully blocked up. Dr. Hartmann then 
admitted that traces of this hole had been discovered previously, 
but the discovery was kept a secret. On the following morning 
Mr. Hume drew up some statements to form proposed resolu- 

1 See above, p. 248, 2 See above, pp. 241-2. 


tions for an informal meeting to be held in the evening by him 
self, the Oakleys, Hartmann, Ragoonath Row, Subba Row, and 
P. Sreenvas Row. These were to the effect that most of the 
phenomena in connection with the Theosophical Society were 
fraudulent, as appears from such of the Coulombs statements as 
have been verified, and the independent investigations by myself, 
that the Society be reconstituted, that Madame Blavatsky, 
Olcott, Damodar, Babajee and Bhavani Shankar should resign 
their connection with it, that the disputed letters are genuine, 
and that Hartmann s pamphlet as well as the Defence pamphlet 
should be withdrawn, as being founded on an imperfect know 
ledge of the circumstances. These resolutions, as I was informed 
by Mr. Hume, were not carried, the Oakleys and Dr. Hartmann 
being unwilling to go so far as to condemn the phenomena as 
fraudulent. It was decided, however, that the pamphlets 
should be withdrawn. 1 

Hartmann confessed that the pamphlet published in 
February was thoroughly untrustworthy, 2 and gave Mr. 
Hodgson a written statement about the Shrine. 3 Finally, 
Madame Blavatsky herself confessed that the Shrine was 
made with three sliding panels in the back. 4 

The result of Mr. Hodgson s long patient inquiry was\ 
that he was driven to these conclusions : that every phe- v 
nomenon, so far as he had been able to trace it, was fraudu- ) 
lent ; that the letters handed over by Madame Coulomb { 
were genuine ; and that most of the Koot Hoomi letters ? 
were written by Madame Blavatsky herself, though a few . 
were probably written by Damodar. 5 

1 Proceedings, XXIV, 134. 2 76., XXIV, 145. 

3 Reproduced in part, Proceedings, IX, 225, and quoted above, p. 241. 

4 Proceedings, IX, 221. 

6 For example, Damodar, who knew everything, wrote the letter, which 
pretends to come from Koot Hoomi, referred to above on p. 237, to prevent 
the Committee from expelling the Coulombs and discovering the shrine and 
the sliding panels, at least until orders should come from Europe. The 
letter from M., referred to above on p. 238, was clearly written by Madame 
Blavatsky in Europe and sent by the mail to Damodar to be delivered to 


A few days after the conference just described Hodgson 
left for home. About the same time Judge slunk away to 
America without fulfilling his boasts ; l and Damodar, 
knowing that his course was run, took a journey to the 
Himalayas, and was seen no more. 2 

/. When Madame Coulomb saw that Madame Blavatsky 
and her friends were afraid to prosecute and give her the 
opportunity of proving the truth of her statements, she 
determined to bring the matter before a court of law herself. 
But, since Madame Blavatsky had not publicly charged 
Madame Coulomb with forging the letters, it was impossible 
to prosecute her. Consequently, she instructed Messrs. 
Barclay and Morgan to proceed against General Morgan 
of Ootacamund, as he had been foremost in charging her 
with forgery. But at this juncture Madame Blavatsky s 
lady doctor went and begged Madame Coulomb s friends 
to postpone the case : Madame Blavatsky was so ill that 
it would inevitably kill her. They agreed. Several post 
ponements were asked for and obtained; but finally the 
patient recovered. It was then decided to proceed 
with the case. As a preliminary measure, Madame Cou 
lomb s solicitors wrote to General Morgan on March 25th, 
threatening him with criminal proceedings, should he fail 
to make an apology before April 2nd. General Morgan 
replied, in a letter dated March 3ist, declining to apologize. 

The very next day, the Theosophical Society gave 
Madame Blavatsky permission to leave India; and she 
embarked on a French steamer, the Tibre, at Madras 
on ^ e 2n< ^ ^ April, never to return. In order that no one 

Dr. Hartmann. If it was sent by Morya himself, how did he require to use 
Damodar as his postman ? Why did he not send it direct to Hartmann in 
Madras ? 

1 Proceedings, XXIV, 141. 

2 The reason for his flight may be found in Proceedings, IX, 226-237. 


might know beforehand that she was to sail, her passage 
and that of Miss Flynn, who went with her, were taken 
under the name of " Madame Helen and maid." She sailed 
on a medical certificate of dishealth ; for her doctor thought 
that she ought not to stay through the hot weather. It was 
kidney- trouble she had suffered from. She had had a very 
similar attack in Elberfeld seven months earlier, 1 and she 
had another at Wiirzburg five months later. 2 But it is 
also perfectly clear that it was not this sickness that was 
the reason for her sudden and secret departure. Had she 
been ready to clear her character, she could have stayed 
a little longer without the slightest danger. As soon as 
it was rumoured that she had escaped, a representative 
of Messrs. Barclay and Morgan went down by rail 
to Pondicherry, where the French steamer had to call, 
went on board, and found the lady well and happy 
on deck, surrounded by a crowd of admirers. She 
unquestionably fled from India, in order to escape the ordeal 
of cross-examination as a witness in the Coulomb-Morgan 
trial. In a letter to M. Solovyoff, written at Naples on 
the 2 Qth of the month, she says that she had been called a 
Russian spy, and adds : 

They certainly could not prove anything, but meanwhile, / 
on mere suspicion, it might have been a matter of sending me 
to jail, arresting me, and doing who knows what to me. I have - 
only now heard all this in detail; they did not tell me, and 
packed me off straight from my bed on to the French steamer. 3 

Dr. Hartmann also sailed in the same steamer. Thus,; 
Judge, Damodar, Madame Blavatsky and Dr. Hartmann * 
had all fled from Madras. 

Two days after the steamer sailed the following note ap 
peared in the Madras Mail: 

i MPL, 77, 87. 2 /&., 144- /&., 119. 


The Theosophists : Colonel Olcott writes on behalf of the 
General Council of the Theosophist Society to say that "as a 
number of copies of a pamphlet entitled Report of the result 
of the investigations into the charges brought against Madame 
Blavatsky, l have been circulated, it is my duty to state that 
the issue has not been ordered by the General Council, nor 
authorized by the Committee." 2 

Clearly, this action can have resulted only from a convic 
tion on the part of the leaders that the pamphlet was un 
trustworthy ; and that is precisely what Hodgson says they 
had come to. 3 The Theosophists of India thereby abso 
lutely gave up the attempt to defend Madame Blavatsky. 

On the 22nd of April a letter from Madame Coulomb ap 
peared in the Madras Mail in which she explained that, since 
Madame Blavatsky had left the country, it was impossible 
to have the question of the authenticity of the letters satis 
factorily settled, and she had in consequence decided to drop 
the case against General Morgan. 

m. How sick the Theosophic leaders were of phenomena 
is patent from the fact that from this time these most useful 
miracles were banned. They were unnecessary ; and they 
were dangerous. Every book labours to show that they 
are no essential element of the Theosophist programme. 
But has no one realized what the cessation of the phenom 
ena means ? Many of them were supposed to be the work 
of the Masters themselves. Hence, if we accept the Theo 
sophic explanation of the Coulomb affair, we must conclude 
that those great Adepts, who, in the fulness of their omni 
science, had planned them and carried them out, were com 
pelled by a pair of forgers and a few conspiring missionaries 
to give up the policy they had adopted for the establishment 
of the truth in India ! 

1 See above, p. 249. 2 Proceedings, XXIV, 135. 

3 See above, p. 251. 


n. Meantime, the Committee appointed by the Society 
for Psychical Research to inquire into the phenomena of 
Theosophy had been dealing with certain parallel cases 
which had taken place in Europe, and had been led by all 
the evidence adduced to declare that they had been fraudu 
lently arranged by Madame Blavatsky. This conclusion 
was based solely on the evidence available in Europe, 1 
and is thus altogether independent of the Coulomb letters 
and the masses of evidence gathered by Hodgson. 

o. When his report was laid before the Committee, they 
carefully weighed all the evidence and unanimously accepted 
his main conclusions. The report was published in Decem- 
her, 1885.* _ 

No man is in a position to decide any one of the most 
important questions at issue until he has worked his way 
patiently through the mass of detailed evidence accumu 
lated in this report. We cannot, in the space at our dis 
posal, give any outline of the masses of evidence set forth in 
it. We simply note the most outstanding facts, and refer 
readers to all the relevant documents. 

p. With regard to the phenomena, two points must be 
noticed here. First, the famous brooch case, detailed 
above, 3 was unmasked by journalists long before Hodgson 
had anything to do with the question. This affords us, 
then, undeniable evidence, quite apart from Hodgson, the 
missionaries and the Coulomb letters, that Madame Blavat 
sky, on one occasion at least, was guilty of a most impudent 
piece of fraud, and that she had made the most careful ar 
rangements beforehand to deceive her hosts, an Indian 
Civilian and his wife. Secondly, the evidence which Hodg 
son offers to prove that other phenomena were fraudulent is 
of the same nature as that which exposed the brooch-trick, 
simple matters of fact, requiring no knowledge of telepathy 

1 Proceedings, IX, 397-400. * Ib., IX, 201-396. Pp. 228-31. 


or any form of occultism for their appreciation, but under 
standable by all. Let readers turn to the Report. 

q. As to the letters handed over by Madame Coulomb, 
the handwriting proved them to be Madame Blavatsky s ; 
but it was not merely the handwriting that convinced every 
one who handled them of their genuineness and made it 
utterly impossible for the Theosophic leaders to prove them 
forgeries, but the masses of detailed allusions in them to 
Indian Civilians, prominent Hindus and other people, 1 
details the truth of which no one could deny and no forger 
could have invented, details which proved absolutely true 
so far as Hodgson was able to probe them in each case. The 
instructions for the production of phenomena contained in 
the letters were proved genuine by the sliding panels and 
other arrangements found in the Shrine and in Madame 
Blavatsky s rooms and by many circumstances discovered 
by Hodgson. 

r. In the case of the long philosophic letters purporting to 
come from the Masters, there is abundance of evidence to 
prove that most of them were written by Madame Blavat- 
sky. The plagiarism from Mr. Kiddle and the stupid fic 
titious defence set up afterwards, 2 taken along with what we 
know of how I sis Unveiled was produced, 3 would suggest 
that the same mind produced both ; but there is direct and 
convincing evidence as well. There are multitudes of errors 
in the English of these letters, errors in spelling, errors in 
dividing words at the end of a line, and errors in idiom ; 
and almost every one of them can be paralleled in Madame 
Blavatsky s acknowledged correspondence. This was one 
of the forms of evidence which convinced Mr. Hodgson as 
to their authorship. Here are lists of some of the more 
noticeable of these errors : 

1 See, for example, the letter reproduced in Collapse, pp. 32-34, and the 
first letter on p. 211 of Proceedings, IX. 

2 Pp. 231-2, above. 3 Pp. 223-5, above. 


a. Misspells, your s, her s, fulfill, dispell, thiefs, leasure, 
quarreling, marshaling, alloted, in totto, circumstancial, defense. 

b. Faulty division of words at the end of a line, incessan-tly, 
direc-tly, una-cquainted, fun-ctions, discer-ning, rea-ding, 
rea-dily, po-werless, atmos-phere, des-pite, corres-pondence, 
En-glishman, En-glish, misunders-tood. 

c. Faulty idioms. I give you an advice ; who, ever since he 
is here, has been influencing him ; we mortals never have and 
will agree on any subject entirely ; one who understands toler 
ably well English ; you felt impatient and believed having rea 
sons to complain ; to take care of themselves and of their here 
after the best they know how ; the best she knew how ; 
that the world will not believe in our philosophy unless it is 
convinced of it proceeding from reliable ; there are those, 
who, rather than to yield to the evidence of fact ; in a direct 
course or along hundred of side-furrows ; their active mentality 
preventing them to receive clear outside impressions ; provided 
you consent to wait and did not abuse of the situation ; Immu 
table laws cannot arise since they are eternal and uncreated, 
propelled in the Eternity and that God himself if such a thing 
existed could never have the power of stopping them; so 
more the pity for him. 1 

It must also be noticed here that Mr. Sinnett s books are 
no faithful representation of the Ms. letters. Most of the 
above errors, and many other awkward words and phrases, 
have been corrected ; 2 and the passage plagiarized from Mr. 
Kiddle 3 is dropped altogether from the text in the later 
editions, and no note is appended to tell readers of the omis 
sion. This way of dealing with the Mss. is the more serious 
because Mr. Sinnett says on p. 100 : 4 

The reader must be careful to remember, however, as I now f 
most unequivocally affirm, that I shall in no case alter one % 
syllable of the passages actually quoted. 

1 Proceedings, IX, 306-7. 2 Ib) IX> 3OS 

3 See p. 231, above. 

4 I.e. of the ist edition, p. 69 of the 3rd and p. 85 of the 8th edition. 


Readers will form their own opinion of Theosophic editorial 
methods. 1 At a later date, Mr. W. Emmette Coleman, 
whom we have already mentioned, 2 brought forward a 
great mass of evidence of a different kind, which completely 
confirms Mr. Hodgson s conclusion. Here is his general 
statement : 

Esoteric Buddhism, by A. P. Sinnett, was based upon state 
ments in letters received by Mr. Sinnett and Mr. A. O. Hume, 
through Madame Blavatsky, purporting to be written by the 
Mahatmas Koot Hoomi and Morya, principally the former. 
Mr. Richard Hodgson has kindly lent me a considerable number 
of the original letters of the Mahatmas leading to the production 
of Esoteric Buddhism. I find in them overwhelming evidence 
that all of them were written by Madame Blavatsky, which 
evidence will be presented in full in my book. In these letters 
are a number of extracts from Buddhist books, alleged to be 
translations from the originals by the Mahatmic writers them 
selves. These letters claim for the adepts a knowledge of San 
skrit, Thibetan, Pali, and Chinese. I have traced to its source 
each quotation from the Buddhist scriptures in the letters, and 
] they were all copied from current English translations, including 
. even the notes and explanations of the English translators. 
They were principally copied from Beal s Catena of Buddhist 
Scriptures from the Chinese. In other places where the adept 
(?) is using his own language in explanation of Buddhistic terms 
and ideas, I find that his presumed original language was copied 
nearly word for word from Rhys Davids s Buddhism, and other 
books. I have traced every Buddhistic idea in these letters 
and in Esoteric Buddhism, and every Buddhistic term, such as 
Devachan, Avitchi, etc., to the books whence Helena Petrovna 
Blavatsky derived them. Although said to be proficient in the 
knowledge of Thibetan and Sanskrit, the words and terms in 
these languages in the letters of the adepts were nearly all used in 
a ludicrously erroneous and absurd manner. The writer of these 
letters was an ignoramus in Sanskrit and Thibetan ; and the 
mistakes and blunders in them, in these languages, are in exact 

1 See also what M. Solovyoff reports, MPI., 157. 

2 See above, pp. 223-4. 


accordance with the known ignorance of Madame Blavatsky 
thereanent. Esoteric Buddhism, like all of Madame Blavatsky s 
works, was based upon wholesale plagiarism and ignorance. 1 

There is another fact. Most of these letters were written 
on a peculiar sort of hand-made rice-paper. After Madame 
Blavatsky s death, Judge fabricated a large number of 
Mahatma letters, as we shall see; and they too were 
written on this peculiar paper. Olcott then told his 
Theosophic friends that he himself had bought a quantity 
of this paper in Jummoo, Cashmere, in 1883 ; that Madame 
Blavatsky always carried a supply of it about with her ; 
and that Judge must have abstracted some of it from her 
rooms in London. 2 M. Solovyoff tells us that, in a drawer 
of Madame Blavatsky s writing-table in Wurzburg, he saw 
a packet of envelopes of this very paper. 3 Hence no serious 
student will doubt how these letters were composed. 

s. Mr. Sinnett published a defence of the occult phe 
nomena in 1886. Then Mrs. Besant attempted to answer 
Hodgson s Report in an article in Time in March, 1891. It 
is astounding to discover that for most of the evidence 
which Mr. Sinnett and Mrs. Besant bring, they rely on the 
pamphlet, Report of the Result of an Investigation, etc., 4 which 
was chiefly compiled by Dr. Hartmann, Madame Blavatsky s 
"liar, cunning and vindictive," 5 and which, within two 
months of its publication, was publicly repudiated by the 
leaders of Theosophy in India, 6 Dr. Hartmann himself 
having acknowledged it to be untrustworthy. 7 

Mr. Hodgson overwhelmed these articles with a reply 
in 1893 . 8 Yet Mrs. Besant published H. P. Blavatsky and 
the Masters of the Wisdom in 1907, using the old repudiated 

1 MPI., 363-4. 2 Isis Very Much Unveiled, 49 ; below, p. 268. 

3 MPL, 152. 4 Above, p. 249. 8 Above, p. 248. 6 Above, p. 254 

7 Proceedings, XXIV, 145 ; above, p. 251. 

8 Ib., XXIV, 129-159. 


source, and repeating certain shameful slanders, without 
even mentioning Hodgson s replies. Nothing has done so 
much to shake my confidence in Mrs. Besant s honesty as 
my study of this dreadful document. All later attempts 
at defence depend almost entirely on its statements. These 
books and pamphlets are by far the most unreliable litera 
ture that it has ever been my sad fate to have to study. 
A few samples of their quality are given in the Appendix, 

P- 447- 

12. A new myth was created in 1885. According to the 
teaching of all the wise and good of the ancient world, the 
goddess Isis lifted her veil only to those who had lived lives 
of perfect chastity. Now Madame Blavatsky, according 
to Theosophic legend, was chosen by the Masters from 
amongst all modern men and women to receive the ancient 
wisdom in limitless measure from the highest sources. 
She unveiled Isis. Hence during the autumn of 1885, 
while she was at Wlirzburg, Germany, she began to tell her 
friends, that, despite her marriage to M. Blavatsky, despite 
many stories told of her after life, and despite her American 
marriage, 1 she had through all remained a spotless virgin. 2 
Yet this is the woman whose confessions of gross and long- 
continued immorality live in her own letters to M. Aksakoff 
and to M. Solo vy off. 3 We are thus driven to acknowledge 
that she was capable of stupendous hypocrisy in addition 
to everything else. This myth has to be carefully borne in 
mind in the study of Theosophic literature written after 

13. 1888 proved one of the most remarkable years in 
Madame Blavatsky s life. From that year dates the Eso 
teric School of Theosophy, which since then has been the 
kernel and the strength of the society. In the same year she 
published her greatest work, The Secret Doctrine. Then also 

1 See above, p. 221. z MPL, 139-141. 8 See above, pp. 211-3. 


Mr. G. R. S. Mead, now editor of The Quest, became her 
private secretary. He retained the position until her death 
in 1891. 

The Esoteric School was created in order to initiate young 
Theosophists into the practice of occultism. The work 
was carried on in classes, each under the guidance of a secre- ) 
tary. A good deal of the instruction was taken from Ms. 
material prepared by Madame Blavatsky and afterwards 
published in the third volume of The Secret Doctrine. Each 
person initiated had to take two vows : to defend and ad 
vance the cause of Theosophy as far as lay in his power; 
and not to reveal anything taught in the Esoteric School. 
Each pupil received also a photograph 1 of a (pretended) 
portrait of one of the Masters and was bid gaze on it 
fixedly during meditation and try to visualize it in the 
corners of the room. The occultism of the school at this 
time seems to have been rather different to what it has 
become under Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater. 

It was in October, 1888, that The Secret Doctrine was pub 
lished. In the Introduction the authoress assures us that 
the teaching it contains comes from her Masters, who reside 
beyond the Himalayas. The truth it contains is now "per 
mitted to see the light after long milleniums of the most 
profound silence and secrecy." The reason why "the out 
line of a few fundamental truths from the Secret Doctrine 
of the Archaic Ages" is now revealed is because European 
scholars during the nineteenth century have been studying 
the religions of Egypt, India and other lands and have been 
publishing to the world utterly false and misleading ac 
counts of these great systems. 2 

The whole book is founded on what she calls "The Book 
of Dzyan," which consists of nineteen stanzas, and, accord 
ing to Madame Blavatsky, is a very ancient work. It is 
^ee above, pp. 169, 170, 179. 2 Pp. xxi-xxii. 


altogether unknown to European scholars; no copy of it 
lies in any European library ; yet, she asserts, that it exists 
in one of the mysterious libraries of Tibet, in which are con 
cealed all the sacred and philosophical works that have ever 
been written, in whatever language or characters, since the 
art of writing began. 1 

The Secret Doctrine is in two volumes, the first, on Cos- 
mogenesis, being founded on the first seven stanzas of the 
Book of Dzyan, and the second, on Anthropogenesis, being 
founded on the remaining twelve. In this work readers 
will find Theosophy as it is actually taught to-day. The 
doctrine is much more developed and definite than it is in 
I sis Unveiled. Here the formation of the worlds and the 
evolution of man are treated in detail. As in the Isis, the 
treatment is unscientific in character throughout. 

Analysis has shewn that large portions of the book were 
compiled in the same way as so much of the Isis was built 
up. 2 Hundreds of passages were borrowed without acknow 
ledgment from modern books. Mr. Coleman writes as 
follows : 

A specimen of the wholesale plagiarisms in this book appears 
in Vol. II, pp. 599-603. Nearly the whole of four pages was 
copied from Oliver s Pythagorean Triangle, while only a few 
lines were credited to that work. Considerable other matter in 
Secret Doctrine was copied, uncredited, from Oliver s work. 
Donnelly s Atlantis was largely plagiarised from. Madame 
Blavatsky not only borrowed from this writer the general idea 
of the derivation of Eastern civilization, mythology, etc., from 
Atlantis ; but she coolly appropriated from him a number of the 
alleged detailed evidences of this derivation, without crediting 
him therewith. Vol. II, pp. 790-793, contains a number of facts, 
numbered seriatim, said to prove this Atlantean derivation. 

These facts were almost wholly copied from Donnelly s book, 
ch. IV., where they are also numbered seriatim ; but there is no 

1 Pp. xxiii-xxiv. 2 Above, pp. 223-5. 


intimation in Secret Doctrine that its author was indebted to 
Donnelly s book for this mass of matter. In addition to those 
credited, there are 130 passages from Wilson s Vishnu Purana 
copied uncredited ; and there are some 70 passages from Win- 
chell s World Life not credited. From Dowson s Hindu Classi 
cal Dictionary, 1 23 passages were plagiarised. From Decharme s 
Mythologie de la Grece Antique, about 60 passages were plagi 
arised ; from Myer s Qabbala, 34. These are some of the other 
books plagiarised from : Kenealy s Book of God, Faber s Cabiri, 
Wake s Great Pyramid, Gould s Mythical Monsters, Joly s 
Man before Metals, Stallo s Modern Physics, Massey s Natural 
Genesis, Mackey s Mythological Astronomy, Schmidt s Descent 
and Darwinism, Quatrefage s Human Species, Laing s Modern 
Science and Modern Thought, Mather s Cabbala Unveiled, 
Maspero s Musee de Boulaq, Ragon s Maconnerie Occulte, 
Lefevre s Philosophy, and Buchner s Force and Matter. 

The Book of Dzyan was the work of Madame Blavatsky 
a compilation, in her own language, from a variety of scources, 
embracing the general principles of the doctrines and dogmas 
taught in the Secret Doctrine. I find in this "oldest book in the 
world" statements copied from nineteenth century books, and 
in the usual blundering manner of Madame Blavatsky. Letters 
and other writings of the adepts are found in the Secret Doctrine. 
In these Mahatmic productions I have traced various plagiarised 
passages from Wilson s Vishnu Purana and Winchell s World 
Life, of like character to those in Madame Blavatsky s 
acknowledged writings. Detailed proofs of this will be given in 
my book. I have also traced the source whence she derived the 
word Dzyan. 1 

It is greatly to be regretted that Coleman s promised, 
book never appeared. The evidence he had accumulated 
would have been interesting in the extreme. His library was- 
destroyed in the fire which followed the great earthquake in 
San Francisco in 1906 ; and he died in 1909. The third 
edition of The Secret Doctrine, edited and published in London 
in 1897, gives references to a considerable proportion of the 

l MPI.,pp. 358-9. 


borrowed passages which Coleman speaks of ; so that there 
is no question about them. But Theosophists who have 
studied the work carefully, while willing to acknowledge the 
presence of these recognized quotations, believe that the 
book of Dzyan and certain other passages cannot be traced 
to modern works. Since Mr. Coleman did not publish his 
studies, the question is still undecided. 

14. Madame Blavatsky 1 died at the age of sixty on the 
8th of May, 1891. 

It may be well to introduce here a pen-and-ink portrait 
of her which appeared recently : 

She was playing her usual game of " Patience " when I came 
upon her first of all one evening. She looked up and arrested 
your attention by the steady gaze of her large, pale blue eyes. 
Most people regarded them as the redeeming feature of an 
otherwise excessively plain face. They were set to advantage 
in a somewhat wide angle on either side of what did duty for a 
nose but which she playfully described as " no nose at all, but a 
button." Her mouth was wide with lips that were close-set, 
thin, and mobile, and when she laughed she opened her mouth 
and eyes wide with the abandon of a child. I have never seen 
a woman of mature years laugh with such child-like natural 
ness as she. Her complexion may be described as coffee- 
coloured, a yellowish brown, and the face had no square inch 
that was not scored by a thousand wrinkles. This and the whites 
cf her eyes, which were not white at all but yellow, gave one 
the impression of " liver" or the tropics, and either would have 
been a safe guess. The size and shape of her head was very 
remarkable. No student of phrenology would convict her of 
material tendencies or attribute to her anything but a highly 
spiritual and intellectual nature, for the vault of the head from 
the bore of the ear upwards was exceptionally high, as was 
also the forward development, and these were sustained by an 
adequately broad base, while the lateral development was com 
paratively insignificant. Her iron-grey crinkly hair ran in 
fascinating little ripples to where it was gathered in the most 
1 See her portrait, Plate IX, facing p. 195. 


unconventional of knots on the nape of the neck, as if it were 
something to be got out of the way merely, and stuck through 
with a broad comb. The inevitable cigarette called immediate 
attention to her hands. They were really beautiful hands, but 
uncanny ; so like a child s with their dimples and soft cushions ; 
and every phalange of her lithe, tapering ringers was double- 
jointed. They seemed to be endowed with a life of their own. 
They were seldom still for more than a few seconds together. 
Later on she gave some sort of reason for this. Holding her 
hands perfectly still over a table, the palms curved so as to 
form a sort of inverted cup, she remained so for perhaps two 
minutes or more, when suddenly there was a loud explosion like 
the crack of a rifle and one expected to see that the table itself 
had split from end to end. 1 

She was a woman of very unusual powers. Her personality 
was potent and attractive in a very high degree. She had 
great gifts as a story-teller and conversationalist. She was 
greatly loved by her friends, and was most affectionate to 
them in turn. She drew people towards her, and won their 
confidence, influencing every one who came within her 
radius so deeply that people found it hard to escape from her 
control. She had the genius to will and to rule. She was 
what Theosophists call " a psychic " of a very high order. 
This word denotes those little-understood sympathies and 
faculties which make the spiritualistic medium, the telep- 
athist, the thought-reader, the clairvoyant, the hypnotist. 
Probably some of the lesser phenomena which she exhibited 
were quite real. She was also a woman of great energy 
and industry ; for, in spite of frequent illness and racking 
pain, she worked almost incessantly for many years. She 
had the shaping gift of imagination, which, combined with 
a natural power of direct and telling expression, enabled her 
to produce books which have captivated thousands. 

In character she was an extraordinary mixture. She was 

1 W. R. Corn Old in the Occult Review of March, 1914. 


bountifully generous to her friends and to every one in need. 
She was devoted to her family and her country. She must 
have had sterling qualities to inspire friends as she did. 
Yet Colonel Olcott tells us that she was not loyal to her 
friends, that she used them all as pawns ; 1 and another 
unimpeachable witness says, "You never knew when you 
had her." We have already seen how far she was from 
being truthful ; and all who knew her say she was extremely 
unguarded with her tongue, and also with her pen. 2 She 
was liable to outbursts of furious rage, when her great 
face became livid with passion and almost demonic in ex 
pression. 3 She would then execrate every one in appalling 
language, and make the most outrageous statements which 
were not meant to be taken seriously. 4 She expected those 
who loved her to do for her whatever she asked : conscience 
had no rights as compared with friendship. 5 Seen against 
this background of elemental character, the colossal frauds 
and pretences of her Theosophic career seem a little more 
credible than they do at first sight. 

The truth is, she is best described as a Bohemian. She 
was always smoking, 6 was loose in speech and in manner, 
took her freedom in everything. 7 She was as far as possible 
from being a saint. 8 She hated all conventions, and enjoyed 
nothing so much as tilting at them and breaking through 
them. Indeed, from her own point of view, the whole 
propaganda was but a half-serious, half-comic attack on 
the solemn sobrieties and stupidities of modern science and 

1 ODL., I, 463. 

2 MPI., 71. This accounts in some degree for the recklessness with 
which she wrote masses of compromising material to Madame Coulomb. 
Most of her letters show this characteristic. 

3 Sinnett, Incidents, 18, 19; ODL., I, 463 ; MPI., 152. 4 ODL., I, 463. 
6 MPI., 59. 6 ODL., I, 449-453. 7 Ib., 440-462. 

8 Cf. her own words to M. Solovyoff , "I am by no means a saint ; I am 
far from being one, little father." MPI., 19. 


the strait-laced ideas of Christianity. Her volcanic tem 
perament and surging senses rebelled against all such 
things. Yet she was serious also. She saw that there was 
much more in ancient occultism and magic than the middle 
nineteenth century could believe, and she was convinced 
that Hinduism and Buddhism deserved better treatment 
than they had received. Despite all that she wrote about | 
Christianity, the Orthodox Greek Church still touched her 

LITERATURE. N.B. Books marked with an asterisk to be used 
with extreme caution. HISTORY : * Old Diary Leaves, by H. S. 
Olcott, New York, Putnam s Sons, four vols., 1895, 1900, 1904, 
1906, 6s. net each. * Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky, 
by A. P. Sinnett, London, Redway, 1886, new edition, T. P. S. 1913. 
A Modern Priestess of Isis, by V. S. Solovyoff, translated by Walter 
Leaf, London, Longmans, 1895, out of print. TEACHING AND 
PHENOMENA : * The Occult World, by A. P. Sinnett, London, Triib- 
ner, 1881. * Esoteric Buddhism, by A. P. Sinnett, London, Triib- 
ner, 1883. THE MADRAS EXPOSURE : The Collapse of Root Hoomi, 
Madras, C. L. S. I., 1904, as. 4. Proceedings of the Society for 
Psychical Research, IX, pp. 201-400, London, Triibner, 1885, 
45. 6d.; XXIV, 129-159, London, Triibner, 1893, 35. 6d. Also 
Solovyoff s Modern Priestess of Isis. For THEOSOPHIC DEFENCES, 
see Appendix. MADAME BLAVATSKY S WORKS : Isis Unveiled, New 
York, Bouton, London, Quaritch, 1877, 2 vols. (Point Loma 
Edition, 18 Bartlett s Buildings, London, E. C., 175.) The Secret 
Doctrine, London, T. P. S., 1888, 2 vols. (A reprint of this edition, 
Point Loma, 1909, 425.) Third volume, London, T. P. S., 1897. 
Third edition revised and annotated, London, T. P. S., 3 vols. 505. 

Mrs. Besant 

In 1888 Mr. W. T. Stead, editor of The Review of Reviews, 
handed Mrs. Besant a copy of The Secret Doctrine to review ; 
and that book made her a follower of Madame Blavatsky. f 
She passed at one leap from Atheism to Theosophy ; and, ^ 
since the death of the foundress, she has been by far the 
most potent personality within the society. 


From the beginning Olcott had been President and Judge 
Vice-President, while Madame Blavatsky herself had only 
held the position of Corresponding Secretary. When she 
died, Judge cabled from America to the London office, "Do 
nothing till I come." Within a few days after his arrival 
in London, he produced two messages which he declared 
had been sent by the Master Morya, Madame Blavatsky s 
own special monitor. Mrs. Besant accepted the missives 
as genuine, and publicly proclaimed in a great meeting in 
London that there could be no doubt about the existence 
of the Mahatmas, as communications had been received 
from them since the death of Madame Blavatsky. These 
messages continued to arrive. Mr. Judge s wisdom and the 
high place which he ought to have in the Society was their 
constant burden. Mrs. Besant was convinced of their 
genuineness ; Olcott was in India ; and in consequence 
Judge rose to great prominence in the movement. As a 
result of some of these wonderful epistles Olcott was so 
cowed that he actually resigned his position as President 
of the Society early in 1892. Shortly afterwards he with 
drew his resignation, but at first without effect ; for at the 
Annual Convention of 1892 Judge was elected President for 
life. This election, however, does not appear to have been 
ratified. fi. little later Mrs. Besant went to India. When 
all the documents were laid before Olcott, it became clear to 
him that Judge had forged them, and that he had abstracted 
from Madame Blavatsky s rooms in London the hand-made 
rice-paper 1 on which they were written and the seal with 
which most of them were sealed. Mrs. Besant examined all 
the evidence and recognized Judge s guilt. Olcott then 
wrote to Judge on the I2th of February, 1894, giving him the 
option of (a) retiring from all the offices he held in the Theo- 

1 It was the same paper as the Koot Hoomi letters were written on. 
See above, p. 259. 


sophical Society, and leaving Olcott to make a general public 
explanation or (b) having a Judicial Committee convened 
and the whole of the proceedings made public. Judge re 
fused to resign. It was therefore decided that all the docu 
ments should be placed in Mrs. Besant s hands, that she 
should preside over a judicial inquiry to be held at the 
Annual Convention in London in July, 1894, and that all 
the evidence should be published. This latter pledge was 
given in order to satisfy Indian Theosophists, who were in 
sistent that the fraud should be exposed. 

But, when the Judicial Committee met, Olcott and Judge 
being present as well as Mrs. Besant, a most extraordinary 
thing happened. After most serious deliberation, the 
Committee came to the conclusion that it was contrary 
to Theosophic principles to decide whether Judge was 
guilty or not. TJie trial was impossible ! It was also 
agreed that the evidence which had been gathered should 
not be published. Clearly, the inner history of this most 
shameful transaction is that Judge, who knew all that had 
happened in Madras in 1884 and much else, threatened 
that, if he were exposed, he would expose everybody, but 
agreed to continue to work with the Colonel and Mrs. 
Besant on condition that the affair should be hushed up in 
such a way that his character should not suffer. All this 
the leaders endeavoured to carry out. 

But many Theosophists felt that such immorality must 
not be condoned and concealed. One of the officials, Mr. 
W. R. Gorn Old, therefore urged the leaders at the London 
headquarters to have the evidence published. He was told 
that that was impossible : Mrs. Besant had burned all the 
documents! Like Judge in Madras, 1 she had found fire 
a most convenient means for getting rid of inconvenient 
evidence. But she did not know that, before the incrimi- 
1 See above, pp. 241-2. 


nating documents were handed over to her in India, fac 
simile copies of all had been taken by Mr. Old. Even when 
he made this fact known at headquarters, and offered to 
hand the copies over for publication, the leaders refused to 
act. Then, Mr. Old, disgusted beyond measure because the 
officials would not carry out the promise made in India, 
that all the evidence should be published, and were deter 
mined as far as possible to hide the fraud, resigned his posi 
tion and left the society. He then handed over the fac 
similes of the documents to his friend, Mr. Edmund Garrett ; 
and the whole story was published in The Westminster 
Gazette, October 29-November 8, 1894. It was there 
after republished in book form under the title Isis Very 
Much Unveiled. For his action Mr. Old was vehemently 
attacked by Theosophists as a traitor and a pledge-breaker ; 
but, if Mrs. Besant and Colonel Olcott were justified in 
promising to publish all the evidence, how did Mr. Old do 
wrong in doing what they had promised to do ? It was they 
who broke their pledges. He was also charged with having 
done it from sordid motives. As a matter of fact, through 
resignation of his offices in the Society, he lost a comfortable 
income, and he refused the honorarium of 80 offered him 
by the editor of The Westminster Gazette for his services. 

It was probably this most unexpected publication of the 
evidence, blazoning his forgery to all the world, that drove 
Judge to the next step. He had agreed to work along with 
Olcott and Mrs. Besant ; but, now that the evidence, which 
they had gathered against him, and which they could not 
repudiate, had been published, the only course open to him 
was to deny the facts and pose as a martyr. This he did. 
He broke away from the main Theosophical Society, carry 
ing with him a majority of American Theosophists. These 
he formed into the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical 
Society, and was elected their President for life. He lived, 


however, only eleven months longer. His place was taken 
by Mrs. Katherine Tingley. The headquarters of this 
rival organization are at Point Loma, California. 

Neither Mrs. Besant nor Colonel Olcott ever attempted 
to deny any of the statements made in The Westminster 
Gazette. The whole fabric of gross and shameful fraud and 
concealment stands undeniable. 

Since 1893 Mrs. Besant has spent most of her time in 
India, and has been very successful in building up 
Theosophy there. Her activity has run in the main along 
four lines. She has lectured a great deal in every part of 
India, making the defence and exposition of Hinduism her 
chief theme. Secondly, she has done a great deal for the 
education of Hindus. Hindus had established many col 
leges between 1879 and 1898; but, like Government col 
leges, they gave no religious instruction. The Central 
Hindu College, which she founded in Benares in 1898, is 
modelled on a missionary college, Hinduism taking the place 
of Christianity. From that centre she strove to spread 
this type of education throughout the Hindu community, 
founding schools in many places for both boys and girls. 
Thirdly, she has proved a most prolific and most effective 
writer. Tens of thousands of her books have been sold in 
many other lands as well as India. Lastly, she has given 
a good deal of time to occultism ; but that we shall deal 
with later. 

Mr. C. W. Leadbeater^ who had been a curate of the 
Church of England, became a Theosophist in 1884, and 
since that time, with the exception of a break of some four 
years, he has been one of the officials of the society. He 
has worked in India, Ceylon, America and England. He 
is a very able writer. 

He has also become notorious because of his occult in 
vestigations. We have seen that a secret society for the 


practice of occultism was formed within the Theosophic 
Society by Madame Blavatsky in 1888. Since her death 
Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater have been the leaders 
of the Esoteric School. They have re-organized the School, 
introduced a hierarchy of gurus and systematized the in 
struction, keeping certain very definite ends in view. They 
have also conducted a long series of occult investigations 
themselves, the results of which have been published from 
time to time. One of their chief methods is to read what 
they call the Etheric Record of past events, 1 and thereby 
reconstruct portions of ancient history. 

Mr. Leadbeater on one occasion, on consulting the record, 
came to the startling conclusions, that Jesus and Christ 
were two distinct persons ; that both were men, neither 
being the Logos, or the Son of God ; that Jesus was born in 
105 B.C. ; that Christ was the great Master ; that Jesus, 
wise and devoted though he was, merely yielded up his body 
for Christ to use; that the twelve Apostles never lived; 
and that there is scarcely a scrap of historical matter in the 
Gospels. The teaching now is that one ego was incarnated 
at a very early date as Hermes, again as Zoroaster, then as 
Orpheus, finally as Gautama the Buddha. Another ego 
was Christ. He used the body of Jesus as his vehicle. 
Jesus was born in 105 B.C., and was again incarnated as 
Apollonius of Tyana. 

Much of this Mrs. Besant published in her book, Esoteric 
Christianity. It is also embodied in Mr. Leadbeater s own 
work, The Christian Creed, published in 1904. In 1903 
Mr. G. R. S. Mead published Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.?, an 
attempt to collect and estimate all the evidence contained in 
Talmudic and Christian sources, bearing on the time when 
Jesus lived. He does not come to any decision on the main 

1 See below, p. 278. 


5. In jgoj certain very serious charges were brought 
against Mr. Leadbeater. He was then in England, and held 
the office of Presidential Delegate in the British section of 
the society. It was said that he had given immoral teach 
ing to boys in America, and had even gone the length of 
immoral acts. The leaders of the American Section of the 
society were greatly disturbed over the matter, and wished 
to have him expelled from the society. Since they did not 
possess this power themselves, it was decided that they 
should send a Commissioner to London to lay the matter 
before Colonel Olcott, the President-founder. Colonel 01- 
cott called a special meeting, consisting of the Executive 
Committee of the British Section, the Commissioner from 
America, and a representative from France. The whole 
matter was carefully discussed and Mr. Leadbeater was 
examined. He confessed frankly enough to the charge 
of having given a number of boys the teaching complained 
of; and, under great pressure, he acknowledged that he 
might have been guilty also of some of the acts complained 
of. The printed minutes, legally authenticated, lie before 
me, as I write ; so that there can be no question as to the 
absolute accuracy of these statements. Finally, Mr. 
Leadbeater s resignation was accepted, and he dropped 
out of the society. Mrs. Besant declared that he would not 
be restored until he repudiated his opinions on these matters. 

6. Colonel Olcott died early in 1907, and Mrs^ Besant 
became President of the Theosophic Society. 

7. In January, 1909, Mrs. Besant announced in the 
Theosophist that the General Council had decided to 
allow Mr. Leadbeater to return to the society. Since 
then he has resided at the headquarters in Madras. He 
had not repudiated his teaching, nor has he yet done so. 
About the same time a defence of his teaching, written by 
an American Theosophist named Van Hoek, was circulated 


in the Society. Two of the English leaders, backed by 
many members, appealed to the General Council to with 
draw this document, but they refused. The result was 
that, under the leadership of Mr. G. R. S. Mead, a body 
of some 700 British Theosophists, including nearly all the 
cultured and influential members in the country, and a 
number in other lands, left the society. 

8. Since the moment when Mr. Leadbeater settled at 
headquarters, occultism has come to the front, and is 
now the main activity of the society. Nor is that all. 
Mr. Leadbeater had already published most amazing ac 
counts of what, as he asserted, he had seen in clairvoyance. 
But these were readings of the records of the past ; while 
prophecy is now held to be one of the chief functions of 
occultism. We are told that the world is just about to 
enter on a new era of history. A great World- teacher will 
very soon enter upon his work. The human being whose 
body is to be the physical vehicle for the ego of this World- 
teacher is already in the Theosophical Society, and is to be 
trained for his task by Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater. 
Mrs. Besant will soon be seen to be one of the greatest rulers 
of the world of gods and men. Even those who stand near 
est to her scarcely realize how great she is, and will be. 
Mrs. Besant, in turn, affirms that Mr. Leadbeater is a most 
exalted being, on the very threshold of divinity. In conse 
quence, both these leaders and the Madrasi boy who is to 
be the vehicle of the coming Teacher are adored and praised 
by lowly bending groups of Theosophic initiates. 

It was only gradually that all this was made public. 
Clearly, however, most careful preparation had been made 
for the supreme announcement. The new policy is meant to 
be a master-stroke to capture at once Christianity, Bud 
dhism and Hinduism for the Theosophical Society. In 
England the coming one was called Christ, while in India 


and Ceylon he was called the Bodhisattva or Maitreya. 
He is said to be the ego which used the body of Jesus and 
was then called Christ. A new world-wide organization 
was created to prepare people for the Epiphany. At first 
it was called the Order of the Rising Sun, but three months 
later l was changed to the Order of the Star in the East. .&(*** 
A most urgent propaganda was launched among the stu 
dents of the Hindu College, Benares, in all the Theosophic 
lodges of the world, and among Christian people in England 
and elsewhere. 

One of the most extraordinary accompaniments of this 
startling movement has been the publication of a book, 
written by Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater in collabora 
tion, and called Man: Whence, How and Whither. This 
work is essentially a vast mythology, stretching away back 
some thirty thousand years. It is the pretended record of 
the repeated incarnations of the small group of people at 
present resident at the Theosophic headquarters at Adyar, 
Madras; and what we are asked to believe is that we 
have in the history represented in this record the prepara 
tion for the great events that will take place, when the great 
World-teacher makes his appearance. For example, we are 
told that in 13,500 B.C. "J esus " was the wife of an emperor 
of southern India, while in 12,800 B.C. he was the brother of 
Madame Marie-Louise Kirby, and the father of Mrs. S. 
Maude Sharpe (General Secretary of the English Section), 
of Julius Caesar, and of T. Subba Rao, the Teshu Lama 
being at that time his daughter. 2 

9. The new propaganda with its outrageous statements 
and limitless claims has led to considerable upheavals within 
Theosophy. The persistent preaching of the new doctrine 

1 April, 1911. 

2 For some account of the book see Mrs. Besant and the Present Crisis 
in the Theosophical Society, by Eugene L6vy. 


to the students of the Hindu College, Benares, and the forma 
tion of numerous societies and classes for the study of its 
literature and other such purposes, enraged the mass of 
solid Hindus connected with the College. They protested 
seriously for some time, but got no redress. Finally, they 
were able to make things so hot for Mrs. Besant s personal 
followers on the teaching staff, that they resigned in a body 
and left. Mrs. Besant has thus lost nearly all her influence 
in the citadel of Hinduism. 

There were also many members of the Society in India 
who resigned, probably as many as 500 ; but she still re 
tains her hold over the great bulk of the Indian membership. 
A few seceded in England and in America. On account of 
a sharp disagreement between Mrs. Besant and Herr Steiner, 
the German leader, all the lodges in Germany, consisting of 
2400 members, and several in Switzerland, were driven out 
of the movement. Germany has thus been forced to form 
a fresh organization. The new name is the Anthroposophi- 
cal Society. 

The third result has been a crop of lawsuits in Madras. 
The chief case arose from the fact that a Madrasi Brahman, 
named G. Narayana Aiyer, handed over his two sons to 
Mrs. Besant to be educated. The elder of these boys, 
J. Krishnamurti, is called Alcyone in Mr. Leadbeater s 
occult investigations ; and he is said to have been chosen as 
the vehicle of the coming Christ. Mrs. Besant placed the 
boys under Mr. Leadbeater s care in the matter of their 
studies. The father objected on the ground that Mr. 
Leadbeater is an immoral man. 1 Mrs. Besant consented to 
keep the boys apart from Mr. Leadbeater, but put them 
again under his care, and finally refused to separate them 
from him. The father then raised an action against her 
in the Madras courts, and won his case. 2 Mrs. Besant ap- 
1 See p. 273, above. 2 See The Alcyone Case. 


pealed, but lost again. She then appealed to the Privy 
Council in England ; and the original case has been upset 
on a technical point. 1 Mrs. Besant brought lawsuits for 
defamation of character against two citizens of Madras, 
but both were dismissed. In the course of the four trials in 
Madras a great deal of very unfavourable evidence was 
produced against Leadbeater and Mrs. Besant. The follow 
ing is an extract from the Judgment in the first case : 

Mr. Leadbeater admitted in his evidence that he has held, 
and even now holds, opinions which I need only describe as 
certainly immoral and such as to unfit him to be the tutor of the 
boys, and, taken in conjunction with his professed power to 
detect the approach of impure thoughts, render him a highly 
dangerous associate for children. 2 

In one case the judge declared that Mrs. Besant had de 
fended Leadbeater s immoral teaching. In another the 
judge said Mrs. Besant had not shewn common honesty 
in her dealings with the father of the boys. 

10. The Theosophic cause has suffered so seriously in 
India through the new propaganda and these lawsuits that 
Mrs. Besant has been making frantic efforts during the last 
nine months to achieve a new position by means of new 
activities. The first of these is a Theosophic movement 
in favour of social reform. This is a very noticeable change ; 
for, until now, the Society has been reactionary on all social 
questions with the exception of early marriage, and Mrs. 
Besant has published long, elaborate defences of many 
superstitious observances in Hinduism connected with caste 
and the family. Hindus are being enrolled for the purpose 
of advancing social reform; and each stalwart appends 
his name to seven pledges. 3 

1 The Times, Weekly Edition, May 8, 1914. 

2 The Alcyone Case, p. 260. ISR., XXIV, 43- 


Another proposal has been to form a Young Men s Indian 
Association, confessedly in imitation of the Young Men s 
Christian Association, and for the purpose of saving young 
men from Christian influence. The original idea was to 
make it a Hindu organization of a Theosophic type, but 
several of the Madras leaders refused to have anything to 
do with an organization that touched religion ; and, in con 
sequence, the proposal is now a purely secular one. There 
have been great difficulties in getting the project launched. 
When I was last in Madras, 1 all that had been done was to 
arrange for the opening of a small hostel, containing a read 
ing room, but without a Superintendent. 

ii. We give next a very brief outline of the teaching 
given by Theosophists. Our sketch is drawn from Mr. C. 
W. Leadbeater s Textbook of Theosophy, and consists largely 
of quotations from it. We begin with a couple of sentences, 
descriptive of the Etheric Record, which, we fancy, are 
necessary as a sort of preface to the whole : 

Theosophy has much to tell us of the past history of man 
of how in the course of evolution he has come to be what he now 
is. This also is a matter of observation, because of the fact that 
there exists an indelible record of all that has taken place a 
sort of memory of Nature by examining which the scenes of 
earlier evolution may be made to pass before the eyes of the 
investigator as though they were happening at this moment. 

We can now plunge into the major principles of the system : 

Of the Absolute, the Infinite, the All-embracing, we can at 
our present stage know nothing, except that It is ; we can say 
nothing that is not a limitation, and therefore inaccurate. 

In It are innumerable universes ; in each universe countless 
solar systems. Each solar system is the expression of a mighty 
Being, whom we call the LOGOS, the Word of God, the Solar 
Deity. He is to it all that men mean by God. 

1 In March, 1914. 


Out of Himself He has called this mighty system into being. 
We who are in it are evolving fragments of His life, Sparks of His 
divine Fire ; from Him we all have come ; into Him we shall all 

Next below this Solar Deity, yet also in some mysterious 
manner part of Him, come His seven Ministers, sometimes called 
the Planetary Spirits. 

Under Them in turn come vast hosts or orders of spiritual 
Beings, whom we call Angels or Devas. 

Here in our world there is a great Official who represents the 
Solar Deity, and is in absolute control of all the evolution that 
takes place upon this planet. We may imagine Him as the true 
KING of this world, and under Him are ministers in charge of 
different departments. One of these departments is concerned 
with the evolution of the different races of humanity, so that for 
each great race there is a Head who founds it, differentiates it 
from all others, and watches over its development. Another 
department is that of religion and education, and it is from this 
that all the greatest teachers of history have come that all 
religions have been sent forth. The great Official at the head 
of this department either comes Himself or sends one of His 
pupils to found a new religion when He decides that one is 

Therefore all religions, at the time of their first presentation 
to the world, have contained a definite statement of the Truth, 
and in its fundamentals this Truth has been always the same. 

It is foolish for men to wrangle over the question of the superi 
ority of one teacher or one form of teaching to another, for the 
teacher is always one sent by the Great Brotherhood of Adepts, 
and in all its important points, in its ethical and moral principles, 
the teaching has always been the same. 

In the earlier stages of the development of humanity, the 
great Officials of the Hierarchy are provided from outside, from 
other and more highly evolved parts of the system, but as soon 
as men can be trained to the necessary level of power and wisdom, 
these offices are held by them. In order to be fit to hold such 


an office a man must raise himself to a very high level, and must 
become what is called an Adept. 

A large number of men have attained the Adept level . . . 
but always some of them remain within touch of our earth as 
members of this Hierarchy which has in charge the adminis 
tration of the affairs of our world and of the spiritual evolution 
of our humanity. 

This august body is often called the Great White Brother 

A few of these great Adepts, who are thus working for the 
good of the world, are willing to take as apprentices those who 
have resolved to devote themselves utterly to the service of 
mankind ; such Adepts are called Masters. 

One of these apprentices was Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. 

To attain the honour of being accepted as an apprentice of 
one of the Masters of the Wisdom is the object set before himself 
by every earnest Theosophical student. But it means a deter 
mined effort. There have always been men who were willing 
to make the necessary effort, and therefore there have always 
been men who knew. The knowledge is so transcendent that 
when a man grasps it fully he becomes more than man, and he 
passes beyond our ken. 

Mr. Leadbeater next gives a chapter describing certain 
intricate chemical processes whereby a solar system is said 
to be formed from " the aether of space." Our own globe is 
a fair sample of all the planets ; and it is said to be really 
seven interpenetrating worlds ; the physical earth and six 
others which are beyond the ken of our ordinary senses but 
are visible to the eye of the clairvoyant or occultist, when 
far enough advanced. These six suprasensual worlds do not 
stand apart from the physical earth, but interpenetrate it at 
every point, occupying the same space which it occupies 
but also stretching far beyond it. The seven worlds are 
named in descending order, Divine, Monadic, Spiritual, 
Intuitional, Mental, Emotional (or Astral), Physical. 


Each of these worlds has its inhabitants. The evolution of 
life is described in another chapter. 

Man, according to Theosophy, is in essence a Spark of the 
divine Fire, belonging to the Monadic world mentioned 
above, and is called a Monad. For the purposes of human 
evolution the Monad manifests itself in lower worlds. It 
manifests itself in three aspects in the Spiritual, Intuitional 
and higher Mental worlds. This is the Theosophic soul, a 
Monad, a trinity, a self. This Monad is immortal, is born 
and dies many times, but is in no way affected by birth or 
death. Before birth he draws round him veils from the 
lower mental and astral worlds, and only then obtains his 
physical body. During life man in his bodies makes prog 
ress, slow or rapid : and according to his behaviour is his 
experience. As to death and the hereafter we read : 

Death is the laying aside of the physical body : but it makes 
no more difference to the ego than does the laying aside of an 
overcoat to the physical man. Having put off his physical 
body, the ego continues to live in his astral body until the force 
has become exhausted which has been generated by such emotions 
and passions as he has allowed himself to feel during earth-life. 
When that has happened, the second death takes place; the 
astral body also falls away from him, and he finds himself living 
in the mental body and in the lower mental world. In that con 
dition he remains until the thought-forces generated during his 
physical and astral lives have worn themselves out; then he 
drops the third vehicle in its turn and remains once more an ego 
in his own world, inhabiting his causal body. 

Man makes for himself his own purgatory and heaven, and 
these are not places, but states of consciousness. Hell does not 
exist ; it is only a figment of the theological imagination ; but a 
man who lives foolishly may make for himself a very unpleasant 
and long-enduring purgatory. Neither purgatory nor heaven 
can ever be eternal, for a finite cause cannot produce an infinite 


After life for a shorter or longer time in the higher worlds 
the man is reborn, in order to make more progress. Ac 
cording to Theosophy, a man can never be born an animal. 
Nor is any final failure possible : 

This is a school in which no pupil ever fails; every one must 
go on to the end. 

There is one further point which it is necessary to express 
here. As all religions are held to be in reality the same, 
Theosophy is said to place us at the standpoint where this 
unity becomes visible ; and its function, we are told, is to 
strengthen every religion and to antagonize none. 

12. But hitherto we have said nothing about that which is 
the core of the whole, namely ccultisrn,. We have seen 
that Madame Blavatsky started a secret society within the 
Society for the practical study of occultism in iSSS. 1 Since 
then this Esoteric School has contained all the most con 
vinced Theosophists. It seems clear, that under Mrs. 
Besant and Mr. Leadbeater, the organization has been 
greatly developed and the work of the school transformed. 
At present there is within the school an inner group called 
the Esoteric Section, and within that again a smaller group 
who have given special pledges to Mrs. Besant. 2 The chief 
investigations are carried on at headquarters in Madras 
by Mr. Leadbeater and Mrs. Besant: but the members of 
the school are found all over the world ; and in most of the 
lodges classes are held in which young members receive their 
earliest lessons. 

As members are bound by a pledge not to divulge what 
goes on in the school, it is extremely difficult for an outsider 
to realize what the aims, the methods and the results of 
Theosophic Occultism are. Even those who have broken 

1 P. 261, above. 2 See her portrait, Plate IX, facing p. 195. 


absolutely with Theosophy feel they are still bound by the 
old pledges and will not speak out. Several things, however, 
may be said : 

A. There is a regular hierarchy of gurus (i.e. teachers). 
They teach forms of meditation which are meant to still 
the mind and to make it receptive, receptive not only to 
teaching but to impressions on the sub-conscious plane. 
There are secret manuals which are put into the hands of 
junior members, and they are taught to practise this medita 
tive discipline privately. The gurus use telepathic im 
pressions and hypnotic suggestions to bring the minds of 
their disciples under their control. Everything that is 
taught must be accepted on the authority of the teacher : 
nothing can be tested. When these processes have been 
continued for some time, the mind becomes almost paralyzed, 
and is ready to receive and believe anything that comes 
through the teacher, and to disbelieve everything adverse. 

The pupil as he advances meets the leaders in the esoteric 
section of his lodge. 

B. The word which Leadbeater uses to describe his methods 
of research is Clairvoyance ; but from many hints in the 
literature, and from words which have dropped from 
Theosophists in conversation I am convinced that hypnotic 
methods are much used. 

C. We are frankly told that clairvoyant powers have no 
connection with intelligence, spirituality or purity of char 
acter : 

A constantly growing minority, however, of fairly intelligent 
people believe clairvoyance to be a fact, and regard it as a per 
fectly natural power, which will become universal in the course of 
evolution. They do not regard it as a miraculous gift, nor as an 
outgrowth from high spirituality, lofty intelligence, or purity of 
character. . . . They know that it is a power latent in all 
men, and that it can be developed by anyone who is able and 


willing to pay the price demanded for its forcing, ahead of the 
general evolution. 1 

D. Results. In the process of working through masses of 
Theosophic literature and interviewing scores of individuals 
who have been connected with Theosophy I have become 
convinced that the following results arise from occultism : 

i. On pupils the result is their complete subjugation to 
their gurus 2 and through their gurus to the leaders of the 
Theosophical Society. Scarcely anything is read except 
Theosophic literature; and the mind becomes incapable 
of believing that the guru or the leader can be wrong. We 
may realize how eager the leaders are to obtain this result 
from the fact that the members of the innermost group 
of all have each taken a personal pledge to Mrs. Besant, 
a pledge of "absolute obedience without cavil or delay." 
Apart from this result on the mind, it would be hard to un 
derstand how, in spite of the frequent exposures of the 
leaders, the mass of Theosophists continue their adhesion 
without a break. 

ii. It is well known that the continued practice of spirit 
ualism drives all mediums to fraud. However honest they 
may be, however real the bulk of the phenomena appearing 
through them may be, a moment comes when reality fails 
them, and the temptation to pretend and to deceive is over 
whelming. The same danger haunts the Theosophic leaders. 
The pursuit of occultism necessarily involves them in a con 
stant straining after results and the consequent acceptance 
of illusions. They live in a world half -true, half-false. 

1 Man: Whence, How, and Whither, quoted in Levy, no. 

2 Madame Blavatsky used the word " psychologize " for this process. In 
a letter written from America to a Hindu in Bombay, she called Olcott 
"a psychologized baby" (Proceedings, IX, 311); and writing of Bavaji to 
M. Solovyoff in 1886, she says, "He is an obedient and clever boy ! He is an 
obedient weapon in my hands ! Je 1 ai psychologist. " (MPL, 184.) 


Necessarily, the mind ceases to distinguish sharply between 
truth and falsehood. A clear case from Mrs. Besant s own 
life may be cited here. One evening in a lecture in London 
she declared, to the amazement of the whole audience, that 
Madame Blavatsky had been again incarnated. After the 
lecture her own friends asked her how she had come to say 
such a thing. She replied, " O, I just felt like it." She had 
not a particle of evidence. Probably she did not realize 
that she was romancing and misleading her audience. 
Another instance is her pamphlet in defence of Madame 
Blavatsky. 1 Similarly, the Theosophists felt sure they 
had an irrefragable case until Hodgson cross-examined 
them : they had not realized in the slightest their own ex 
treme inaccuracy. Necessarily, the blurring of the dis 
tinction between truth and falsehood weakens the con 
science in other directions also. This sheds a little more 
light on the Theosophic mind. Madame Blavatsky s 
frauds, Olcott s inaccuracy and lies, 2 Judge s shrine-burn 
ing 3 and forgeries, 4 Sinnett s editorial achievements, 5 Lead- 
beater s immoralities, 6 and Mrs. Besant s behaviour in the 
Judge case, 7 all are made a little more intelligible. There 
was loose morality in some of these cases to begin with ; 
but occultism and its attendant phenomena did the rest. 

13. The enslaving of the minds of the members, however, 
will not stand as a full explanation of the survival of the 
system. If in spite of exposures which would destroy al 
most any society, members still remain true to Theosophy, 
it is clear that it must meet certain needs of our day which 
otherwise do not find satisfaction. It will therefore be 
worth while to attempt to discover what its chief attractions 

1 Appendix, p. 447. 2 Proceedings, IX, 237-239. 3 Pp. 241-2, above. 
4 See above, pp. 268-9. 6 Pp- 232, 257, above, and MPI., 157. 

6 P. 273, above. 7 Pp. 268-70, above. 


A. One of the most outstanding features of the nine 
teenth century was the rise of accurate knowledge of the re 
ligions of the world. The religions of antiquity, especially 
of Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, India and China, 
have been explored by a great company of scholarly 
Orientalists. The faiths of the ruder peoples have been 
described by an army of missionaries, travellers, traders 
and anthropologists. The whole has been built up into a 
new and most imposing science, the science of religions. 
Further, during the last half-century our knowledge of the 
human mind, and especially of its more abnormal activities, 
has grown very rapidly. In consequence, psychological 
interests and methods of study hold a great place in 
modern thought. 

The thinking men of our time are vividly conscious of 
these masses of fresh knowledge. Even if they do not care 
to study psychology and the religions in detail, they want 
to know what practical attitude a reasonable man ought 
to take towards the religions, and also towards telepathy, 
hypnotism, clairvoyance and such like. The Church of 
Christ thus far has failed to give clear expression to her 
mind on these matters. Yet, it is high time she should 
do so, for guidance is wanted ; and if the Church is not 
able to suggest a reasonable attitude, thinking men will 
follow the guidance of other schools of thought. 

Now the Theosophical Society is first of all sympathetic 
to all religions. It has assumed a generous attitude, the 
attitude of appreciation and friendliness. Nor is that all. 
The society has its text-books and classes, its teachers and 
lecturers, and invites men and women to come and study, to 
come and enjoy the rich feast which Oriental religions offer 
to the student. The Christian doctrine of the brotherhood of 
men is also taught : Theosophists are bid receive men of all 
religions as brothers. The bulk of the work they have done 


in the exposition of religions is unscientific and seriously 
misleading. They have usually filled men s heads with 
froth instead of knowledge. Yet the fact remains that they 
have attempted to do in a wrong way the work the Church 
of Christ ought to have done in the right way. This is 
unquestionably the first attraction which Theosophy 
presents to the outsider ; and it is the attraction which has 
drawn to it the great majority of the more intellectual men 
who at one time or another have belonged to it. 

B. The second attraction is the promise of occult know 
ledge and secret power. A very small number of really nota 
ble men, e.g. Sir William Crookes and M. V. S. Solovyoff, 
the Russian man of letters, were attracted to Madame Blavat- 
sky by this side of her work, although they soon discovered 
the hollo wness of her pretences. 1 But it is this aspect of 
the system also which draws the mass of the devoted The- 
osophists of the West. The sheer fascination of secrecy 
lays hold of them, the hope of exclusive knowledge, the 
promise of a path to occult development. Then, once these 
people enter the Esoteric School, the system holds them 
like a vice. One friend who has escaped from the toils 
describes most vividly the fierce mental and spiritual 
struggle which it cost to regain freedom. 

C. In India and Ceylon it is perfectly clear that the 
great mass of members have been drawn by neither of these 
two attractions but simply and solely by the Theosophic 
defence of Hinduism and Buddhism. Thousands of Orien 
tals, whose minds had been filled with shivering doubts 
about their religion by the Western education they had re 
ceived, have fled to Theosophy for refuge with great joy and 
relief. The defence goes a very long way. The depths to 
which Mrs. Besant habitually descends in defending Hin 
duism will hardly be believed. There is scarcely an ex- 

1 MPL, 7. 


ploded doctrine, scarcely a superstitious observance, which 
she has not defended with the silliest and most shameful 
arguments. No one who has not scanned the files of The 
Central Hindu College Magazine or the reports of Mrs. 
Besant s lectures in India has any idea of the indescribable 
rubbish which Theosophy has presented to its Hindu 
members. But there is another side to all this. It is a 
simple matter of fact that for several decades Hindu and 
Buddhist thought and civilization were most unjustly de 
preciated and unmercifully condemned by missionaries, 
by Europeans in general and even by some Hindus. Only 
a few Orientalists escape this censure. There was thus 
really good reason for a crusade in defence of these systems. 

14. To estimate the value of the work done by Theosophy 
is rather a difficult task. It has certainly popularized, 
in Europe and America, a number of the best Oriental 
books, such as the Upanishads and the Gitd, and has taught 
Theosophists to sympathize with Orientals and to think of 
them as brothers ; while in India it has helped to restore 
to the Hindu and the Buddhist that self-respect which 
tended to evaporate amid the almost universal depreciation 
of Oriental thought, life and art. 

But there is a vast amount to be placed on the other 
side of the account. Theosophy under Madame Blavatsky 
condemned and ridiculed Orientalists, and yet took from 
them, almost without acknowledgment, practically all the 
trustworthy knowledge of the East it possessed. Further 
in spite of all its pretences and all its noise, Theosophy 
has made no contribution whatever to our knowledge of 
Oriental religions. It has not discovered a single fresh 
historical fact, nor brought a fresh text to the notice of 
scholars, nor produced a notable translation or commen 
tary. Thousands of copies of Mrs. Besant s translation of 
the Gita have been sold ; but no scholar would dream of 


referring to it for the translation of a difficult line. Apart 
from the writings of Mr. G. R. S. Mead and one or two 
others, we must pronounce the whole vast literature of the 
Theosophical Societies worthless from the point of view of 
scientific knowledge. Where is there a single scholar, 
historian or philosopher to be found amongst its members ? 
One and all are repelled by the charlatanism of the litera 
ture. There is. last of all, the gross disservice it renders 
by filling the heads of its ordinary members with the 
cosmological and historical rubbish which is dumped in 
such heaps by the high-priests of occultism at head 
quarters, and with the impudently worthless trash 
published in defence of superstitions which thoughtful 
Hindus would do anything to get rid of. 

15. Mrs. Besant constantly proclaims both in India and 
in England that a man can become a Theosophist and yet 
remain a true Christian; nay, she goes further and says 
that Theosophy will make a man a better Christian. Is 
this contention justifiable? The facts contained in the 
following paragraphs will enable readers to judge : 

(1) Instead of the Heavenly Father of Jesus Christ, with 
whom every man may come into closest personal relationships 
in worship, prayer and communion, Theosophy offers us, as the 
Supreme, an unknowable IT. 1 

(2) Theosophy detaches religion from God. The ancient 
wisdom which it teaches is not a revelation from the Unknow 
able, but proceeds from the human Masters who are in charge 
of the department of religion in our world. 2 

(3) Necessarily there is no prayer in Theosophy, since the 
Supreme is unknowable. 

(4) There is no worship of God in Theosophy. It is the 
Masters, and such people as Alcyone, Mrs. Besant and Mr. 
Leadbeater who receive adoration. 

1 Above, p. 278. 2 Above, p. 279. 



(5) The Gospels are condemned as utterly unhistorical. 1 

(6) Jesus and Christ are declared to be distinct persons. 2 

(7) Neither Jesus nor Christ is the Son of God: they are 
said to be mere men. 3 

(8) The whole story of Jesus as given in the Gospels, and 
also by Tacitus, is made unhistorical; for He was not born 
under Augustus, in the days of Herod the King, but a century 
earlier, in B.C. 105. 4 He is said to be one of the Masters on 
earth now and to spend most of his time in the Lebanon. 

(9) It was another quite obscure fanatical preacher who was 
condemned to death and executed in Jerusalem about 30 A.D. 5 

(10) According to Theosophic teaching, Jesus was not cruci 
fied for the sins of men. No such death could be an atonement 
for the sins of others. It could only be punishment for His own 
sins in a former life ; for the sway of the doctrine of Karma knows 
no exception. 

(n) The Second Coming of Christ which Mrs. Besant refers 
to is not the Second Coming of the crucified Jesus, the Son of 
God, but the return of a man named Christ, who, according to 
Mrs. Besant s story, for a time used as His vehicle the body of a 
man named Jesus, who was born 105 B.C. 

(12) Christianity teaches that, "It is appointed unto men 
once to die; and after death cometh judgment "; while The- 
osophy teaches that every human being is born and dies many 

This catalogue might be made much longer ; but we 
believe it is quite long enough. We ask our readers to con 
sider seriously whether Mrs. Besant acts rightly, when she 
stands up before a great audience of Christian people in 
England, who know nothing of these Theosophic doctrines 
which she has in her mind, and tells them that to become 
Theosophists will not make them disloyal Christians. 

1 Leadbeater, The Christian Creed, 15. 2 /&., 13, 29. 3 Ib., 15, 27, 29. 
4 Above, p. 272. 6 Leadbeater, The Inner Life, I, 183. 


Every Christian teacher and minister ought to inform him 
self of the true nature of this poisonous anti-Christian 
system; for attempts are being made in many places to 
introduce it into the Church. 

For the relation between Theosophy and the Radha 
Soami system, see above, p. 172, and for its influence on 
the Parsees, p. 344, below. 

LITERATURE. JUDGE : Isis Very Much Unveiled, by Edmund 
Garrett, London, Westminster Gazette Office, 1894, is. THE 
LEADBEATER CASE: See The Alcyone Case (below). TEACHING: 
Esoteric Christianity, by Annie Besant, London, T. P. S., 1901, 
55. net. Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.? by G. R. S. Mead, London, 
T. P. S., 1903, gs. net. The Christian Creed, by C. W. Leadbeater, 
London, T. P. S., 1904, 3.9. 6d. net. A Textbook of Theosophy, by 
C. W. Leadbeater, Madras, Theosophist Office, 1912, is, 6d. net. 
Man; Whence, How, and Whither, by Annie Besant and C. W. Lead 
beater, Madras, T. P. H., 1913. ALCYONE: Mrs. Besant and the 
Alcyone Case, by Veritas, Madras, Goodwin and Co., 1913, 35. 
(A detailed account of the first trial in Madras.) Mrs. Besant and 
the Present Crisis in the Theosophical Society, by Eugene Levy, Lon 
don, Heywood Smith, 1913, is. net. 


The rise of the modern spirit and the example set by the 
great movements we have already discussed had the effect 
of stirring each of the chief Hindu sects to self-defence and 
to various efforts for the strengthening of the community. 

A. TheMadhvas 

It was the Madhvas of South India who first bestirred 
themselves to mutual help and organization. They are a 
Vishnuite sect, and are followers of Madhva, a philosophic 
thinker, who formed his system and created his sect, in the 
Canarese country in Western India, in the thirteenth cen 
tury. The sect is strongest in the part of the country where 


it arose, but it is found scattered throughout the South ; 
and the Chaitanya sect of Bengal and Brindaban sprang 
from its influence. Like all the other theistic sects, they 
are Vedantists, their form of the Vedanta being dualistic. 
Krishna is their favourite incarnation. A considerable 
number of cultured and well-to-do men are Madhvas. 

Thirty-seven years ago, a member of the sect, Mr. Kanchi 
Sabba Raoji, who had had a good English education, and 
was a Deputy-Collector of the First Grade under the 
Madras Government, conceived the idea of forming a 
society to unite the Madhvas, to stimulate the systematic 
study of Madhva literature, and to look after the Madhva 
temples. In 1877 he succeeded in forming the Madhva 
Siddhantonnahini Sabhd, or Association for the Strengthen 
ing of the Madhva System. An annual Conference is 
held, at which speeches are delivered, examinations in the 
sacred books conducted, and prizes and honours conferred. 
A well-managed Bank, with a capital of three lacs of rupees, 
is connected with the society, and is able to give an annual 
grant in aid of its work. The Maharajas of Travancore 
and Mysore, and a large number of wealthy titled gentle 
men, are patrons and life-members of the society ; and all 
the leading educated Madhvas of the South are members. 
The Conference meets at Chirtanur, near Tirupati, in the 
Madras Presidency. 

From the Thirty-Fourth Annual Report 1 it appears that 
the founder of the society did all he could to stimulate the 
pandits of the sect to study the literature. His hope was 
that, if the pandits could be made educated men, it would 
be possible to bring the mass of the people to an intelligent 
knowledge of their religion, and to raise the whole standard 
of thought and life throughout the sect. The Report says 
that most of the men whom the founder dealt with have 
1 Published by Thompson & Co., Madras, 1912. 


passed away, and that worthy successors are hard to find. 
All capable young Madhvas seek an English education, and 
are altogether unwilling to become pandits. 

In recent years, the sect has produced a number of books 
to help its people in the circumstances of to-day. Most 
of these are in the vernaculars, but a few are in English. 
S. Subba Rao has translated Madhva s Commentary on the 
Veddnta-sutras, 1 and has done the work well ; but the most 
noteworthy book is the Life and Teachings of Sri Madhva- 
charyar, by C. M. Padmanabha Char, of Coimbatore. 2 

B. The Chaitanyas 

i. Early in the six^eenth^century, a young Bengali san- 
nyasi, named Krishna Chaitanya, belonging to Nuddea 
(then, as now, celebrated as a seat of Sanskrit learning), 
founded a new sect which worships Kji^na^ajid^RadM . 
The theology he taught was the system of Madhva, but in 
other matters he was a follower of the earlier Vishnuites 
of Bengal. He was a man of extremely emotional tempera 
ment, and won his success by a tempest of devotion. He 
would repeat the sweet name of his Lord till he lost all self- 
consciousness, and imagined himself Krishna or his be 
loved Radha. He and his followers would sit together for 
hours, sinjgnj^yjrm.s in praise of Krishna with instrumental 
accompaniment, until they lost themselves in ecstasy and 
love. This was called sanklrtana^ united praise. Then 
they would sally out, drums beating and flags flying, and 
would march through the streets, dancing and singing to 
Krishna with such contagious joy and holy rapture, that 
the whole town would be swept along on the tide of 
devotion. This was called nagarkirtana, town-praise. 
The composition of popular hymns was thus as character- 

1 Madras, Natesan, Rs. 3, as. 8. 2 To be had of the author. Rs. 3. 


istic of Chaitanya s followers as it is of the Salvation Army. 
In consequence there arose from his movement a new rich 
I literature of religious song in the vernacular. 1 These poems 
and hymns did much to mould the mind of Rabindra Nath 
Tagore. 2 During Chaitanya s lifetime, the movement was 
wholesome and uplifting, but it soon degenerated to care 
lessness and uncleanness. The pure flame was kept 
burning in a few families ; but the fall had been so serious 
that during the first half of the nineteenth century, the 
sect was very little thought of in Bengal. 

2. We have already seen that Keshab Chandra Sen be 
longed to one of the good old Vaishnava families, that one 
of his earliest associates in his religious work was Bijay 
Krishna Gosvarm, a lineal descendant of one of the per 
sonal companions of Chaitanya, and that they successfully 
introduced into the Brahma Samaj the enthusiastic de 
votional methods which we have just described. 3 

, Both these forms of praise have also been adopted by 
<the Christian Church in Bengal. Sankirtana may be wit 
nessed in any gathering; and, when the annual united 
Conference is held in Calcutta in October, a nagarklrtana 
procession passes through the northern parts of the city. 

3. But the Nee-Krishna movement of Bengal is above all 
things a literary movement. When Bijay Krishna Go- 
svami finally left the Brahma Samaj in 1886, he and some 
friends sought to create a modernized Vaishnavism, a mys 
tic Hinduism meant to be a revival of the Chaitanya spirit ; 
and their preaching was not without result ; but no organ 
ization resulted from their labours. The literary revival, 
on the other hand, has been very successful. It was Chris 
tianity and Christian criticism that led to the movement. 
The steady toil of the Mission Colleges of Calcutta had 

1 Sen s History of Bengali Language and Literature, chap. V. 

2 See p. 385, below. 3 See pp. 41 and 47, above. 


produced among educated Bengalis a distinct liking for the 
Gospels and a craving for a perfect character such as Christ s 
for daily contemplation and imitation. The official Libra 
rian of the Bengal Government wrote in 1899 : 

There is no denying the fact that all this revolution in the 
religious belief of the educated Hindu has been brought about as 
much by the dissemination of Christian thought by Missionaries 
as by the study of Hindu scriptures ; for Christian influence is 
plainly detectable in many of the Hindu publications of the year. 

On the other hand, Orientalists and missionaries had openly 
declared that the incarnation-stories of Rama and Krishna 
were myths, and that the Gita did not come from Krishna. 
The aim of the whole movement is to destroy this criticism, 
and to persuade the Bengali to put Krishna in the place of 
Christ and the Gita in the place of the Gospels. 

The new literature falls into three groups, dealing re 
spectively with (a) the historicity of the traditional life 
of Krishna, (b) his life and character, regarded as an ex 
ample for imitation, (c) the Gitd. Of all the books of the 
Neo-Krishna literature Krishnactyaritra, a Bengali prose 
work by the great novelist Bankim Chandra Chatterji, 
has been by far the most influential. The main purpose 
of the work is to prove the historicity of the man-God 
Krishna ; and, though its reasoning is but a house of cards, 
it has been used as the critical arsenal of the whole move 
ment. Many books have also been written in English on 
the life and character of Krishna, notably Lord Gaurdhga 
by Sishir Kumar Ghose. A daily text-book, called The 
Imitation of Sree Krishna, acknowledges by its title and its 
form the Christian influence which inspired it. Of texts 
and translations of the Gitd there is an endless catalogue ; 
and there have been several books written to prove that the 
Gitd lays the foundations of a universal religion. 


But there is a wider interest connected with this litera 
ture. The Gitd has won its way to recognition throughout 
the world, and is widely read in Europe and America. It 
was one of the first Sanskrit books introduced to Europe ; 
for it was translated into English in 1785 by Charles Wil- 
kins. Since then it has received a great deal of attention 
from Western Scholars. Edwin Arnold s translation, The 
Song Celestial, did much to make it known ; and the Theo- 
sophical Society has introduced it to thousands. 

A Bengali, named Surendranath Mukerji, a nephew of 
Mr. Justice Anukul Chandra Mukerji of Calcutta, had 
rather a romantic history in America. He was a follower 
of Chaitanya, and became a sannyasi, taking the name 
Premananda Bharatl. He was usually called Baba 
Bharatl. He went to New York in 1902, and lectured oh 
Krishna with great success not only in New York, but in 
Boston, Los Angeles (where he built a Hindu temple), and 
elsewhere. In 1907 he returned to India with a few 
American disciples, and opened a Mission in Calcutta. 
But funds failed, and he returned to America. He 
published two books, one on Krishna and one on Light 
on Life. He died in Calcutta in January, 1914. 

The Vaishnavas of Orissa and the Northern Telugu 
country held a Convention at least once. It took place 
at Berhampore, Ganjam, in December, 1910. The Chair 
man was Baba Bharatl. Religious education in schools 
and the translation of Vaishnava literature into the vernac 
ular seem to have been the chief matters under discus 

LITERATURE. Chaitanya s Pilgrimages and Teachings, trans 
lated into English by Jadunath Sarkar, London, Luzac, 1913, 3$. 
net. (A translation of the central portion of the best of the early 
Bengali biographies of Chaitanya.) Gita and Gospel, by J. N. Far- 
quhar, Madras, C. L. S., 6 as. (The Appendix gives an account of 


the Neo-Krishna Movement in Bengal and a list of the chief books 
down to 1903.) Krishnacharitra by Bankim Chandra Chatterji, 
Calcutta, 1886 and 1892. (Bengali prose. Meant to prove Krishna 
historical.) The Bhagavadgitd, translated by M. M. Chatterji, 
New York, 1887. (A Theosophic attempt to put the Glta on a level 
with the New Testament.) Lord Gaurahga, by Shishir Kumar Ghose, 
Calcutta, 1897. Two vols. (A life of Chaitanya in English prose. 
A very inflated work.) 

C. The Sri-V aishnavas 

The sect of Ramanuja, called the Sri-Vaishnavas, holds 
a very striking position among the Hindus of the South. 
They own many of the greatest and wealthiest temples; 
a large proportion of the members of the sect are Brah- 
mans; and English education has made great headway 
amongst them. One would not have been surprised if 
they had become organized for self-defence and advance 
much earlier than most sects. But they are divided into 
a pair of very hostile sub-sects, called Vada-galais, and 
Ten-galais ; and many of the members of both subdivisions 
are strictly orthodox. They were thus rather late in 
developing modern movements. 

They have had one scholar, however, who has done his 
very utmost to uphold the dignity of the sect by his writ 
ings both in English and the vernacular, Mr. A. Govind- 
acharya SvamI of Mysore City. Since 1898 he has pub 
lished a long list of books, the most noteworthy of which 
are : Ramanuja s Commentary on the Glta, the Holy Lives 
of the Azhvdrs, and the Life of Ramanuja. A little 
monthly in English, named the Visish.ddvaitin, was also 
published for some time, but it has been discontinued. 

Then in 1902 a group of Sri-Vaishnavas resident in the 
Mysore State formed a society named the Ubhayavedanta 
Pravartana Sabha, or Association for the Promotion of 
both forms of the Vedanta, which has continued to do 


good work ever since. It is clearly modelled on the Madhva 
Sabha, as will be seen from the following statement of 

(1) To encourage the study of Visishtadvaita works in 
Sanskrit and Tamil ; 

(2) To hold an annual examination at Melkote (Tirunaray- 
anapuram), the most sacred Vaishnava Shrine in the Mysore 
State, and to award prizes to successful candidates ; and 

(3) To facilitate the propagation of Visishtadvaita philosophy 
by providing, as funds permit, for the holding of religious classes, 
delivery of lectures, employment of itinerant teachers and 
preachers, etc. 

Another society with similar aims was recently formed 
in Madras, the Sri Visishtadvaita Siddhanta Sangam. 
From a report of a general meeting published in the Hindu 
on March 3rd, 1914, it seems clear that the society wishes 
to encourage religious education in the vernacular among 
the young people of the community, so that they may not 
lose their religion. 

LITERATURE. Sri Bhagavadgltd with Sri Rdmdnuja s Commen 
tary, translated by A. Govindacharya^ Madras, Vaijayanti Press, 
1898, Rs. 5. The Holy Lives of the Azhvdrs (i.e. the Alvars), by 
A. Govindacharya, Mysore, G. T. A. Press, 1902^ Rs. i as. 8. 
The Divine Wisdom of the Drdvida Saints (i.e. the Alvars), by A. 
Govindacharya, Madras, C. N. Press, 1902, Rs. 2. The Life 
of Ramdnuja, by A. Govindacharya, Madras, Murthy & Co., 1906, 
Rs. 2 as. 12. (A translation of a thirteenth-century Tamil life.) 

D. Four Vaishnava Sects 

In the month of May, 1911, the four chief Vaishnava 
sects, the Sri-Vaishnavas, the Madhvas, the Vallabhas and 
the Nimbarkas, took part in a united Vaishnava Confer 
ence held at Allahabad. Several papers of considerable 
interest were read, and were afterwards published in the 


Brahmavadin for October and November, 1912. The Con 
ference met also in 1913, at Jaora in Malwa, but no 
Report has yet been published. 

E. The Saiv a Siddhanta 

Among the many sects which honour Siva the Saiva 
Siddhanta is decidedly the most interesting; for it has a 
great history, and possesses a very rich literature, both in 
Sanskrit and Tamil. It is also one of the largest and 
most influential bodies in South India. A considerable 
proportion of its people are now cultured men of position 
and influence. English education is spreading steadily 
amongst them; and the pressure of European thought is 
keenly felt. 

Saiva Sabhas, i.e. Sivaite Associations, have sprung up 
in several places, notably at Palamcottah and Tuticorin. 
The Saiva Sabha of Palamcottah dates from 1886, and has 
had an honourable history. Its objects are the propaga 
tion of the principles of the Saiva Siddhanta among Saivas 
and others, the supervision of religious institutions, when 
funds are mismanaged, the cultivation of the Dravidian 
languages and the betterment of social conditions in South 
India. The means employed are classes, lectures, the pub 
lication of literature, a library, and in recent years, an 
annual Conference (see below). The Sabha owns a print 
ing press. 

The sect has been fortunate in drawing the attention of 
a number of scholarly missionaries; and in recent years 
they have had several scholars of their own, who have 
worked faithfully for the elucidation of the literature. Of 
these the chief have been Mr. V. V. Ramanan and Mr. 
J. M. Nallasvami Pillai. 

Until 1895 ver y u ttle was known about the sect. A 
few essays had appeared by Hoisington, Pope and Cobban, 


but that was all. In that year, however, Mr. Nallasvami 
Pillai published an English translation 1 of what is regarded 
as the fundamental scripture of the Siddhanta, the Siva- 
jndna-bodha, " Instruction in Siva-Knowledge." It is a 
short manual of dogma in Sanskrit, accompanied by an 
elaborate Tamil commentary by Mey-kanda-devar, a fa 
mous theologian of the thirteenth century. In 1900 Mr. 
Nallasvami Pillai and his friends succeeded in starting a 
monthly English magazine, The Siddhanta Dipikd, or Lamp 
of the Siddhanta, for the purpose of giving expression to 
the best thought of the sect. It has done good work. 
Many translations are published in it. An English trans 
lation of the Sivaite commentary on the Veddnta-sutras, 
which is by Nilakanthacharya and is called the Saiva 
Bhdshya, appeared in its pages, and is now being issued 
in book form. In 1900 Dr. G. U. Pope s edition and trans 
lation of Manikka Vachakar s Tiruvdchakam 2 drew wide 
attention to the sect. Three years ago Mr. Nallasvami 
Pillai published a very useful volume, called Studies in 
Saiva Siddhanta. 3 We ought also to mention a booklet by 
the Hon. Mr. P. Arunachulam, of the Ceylon Civil Service, 
Studies and Translations from the Tamil. 41 

Since 1906 the sect has held an annual Conference, the 
Saiva Siddhanta Mahasamajam, at various towns in the 
north of the Tamil country. The last for which a Report 
has reached me was held at Conjeeveram in December, 
1912. Papers are read and resolutions passed, and the 
whole Conference helps to encourage and uplift the sect. 
The last Conference was held at Vellore on the 26th, 2yth, 
and 28th December, 1913. An interesting appreciation 
of the gathering appeared in The Harvest Field for January, 

1 Madras, Somasundara Nayagar. 2 Oxford, the University Press. 

3 Madras, Meykandan Press, 1911, Rs. 3. 

4 Madras, Siddhanta Dipika Office, 1898, as. 4. 


1914. Since 1909 the Saiva Sabha of Palamcottah has 
held an Annual Conference in Palamcottah, which is very 
similar in character to the Mahasamajam. The latter 
draws its supporters mainly from the north, while the 
former influences the south of the Tamil country. 

In March last I had the privilege and pleasure of inter 
viewing the head of the Tirujnana Sambandha Svaml 
Matha in Madura. His name is Svaminatha Desika. He 
received me most courteously, explained the course of in 
struction followed in the monastery, and also told me 
about his own tours among his disciples. He said that 
he sympathized with the Saiva Siddhanta Mahasamajam, 
but could not agree with it in all things, and that he did 
not attend the annual gathering, because, among other 
reasons, he does not feel that, as a sannyasl, he can travel 
by railway. 

F. The Lingdyats 

In the twelfth century, at Kalyan in the south of the 
Bombay Presidency, Basava, the prime minister of the 
state, founded a new Saiva sect called the Vira Saivas, i.e. 
the heroic, or excellent Saivas. No Brahman was allowed 
to act as priest in the sect, 1 and the members renounced 
caste altogether ; but the old poison has crept in amongst 
them again, and they demand recognition for their caste 
distinctions in the census papers. There seems to be no 
theological doctrine marking them off from other Sivaites ; 
but each person wears a miniature linga (Siva s phallic 
symbol) in a reliquary hung around his neck, and holds it 
in the palm of his left hand during his private worship. 
Hence they are usually called Lingayats. The men who 
act as their priests and gurus are called Jangamas and 
may belong to any caste. Jangama-worship is one of the 

1 Cf. the Tiyas, below, p. 312. 


most essential parts of the cult of the sect. The Jangama 
sits down in yoga-posture, and his disciple sits down before 
him and performs the sixteen operations of worship, pre 
cisely as is done in the case of an idol. The chief books 
of the sect are Siddhdnta Sikhdmani, Kriyasdra, Linga- 
dhdrana Chandrikd, Vlra Saiva Dharma Siromani, and the 
bhashya mentioned below. The Basava Puranas are popu 
lar books of far less consequence. 

Thirty years ago the Lingayat Education Association 
was formed for the promotion of modern education within 
the community. Large gifts from the wealthiest members 
of the sect, supplemented by smaller sums from others, 
sufficed to create an endowment (now amounting to Rs. 
225,000), the proceeds of which are used to help poor 
Lingayat boys to get an education. This central fund 
has its office in Dharwar. In recent years other organiza 
tions have arisen elsewhere, notably the Mysore Lingayat 
Education Fund, which was organized in Bangalore in 
1905, and a hostel for Lingayat students, the Virashaiva 
Ashram, Kalbadevi, Bombay. In consequence, the com 
munity is making progress in education, and many of the 
younger Lingayats are getting into Government service. 

Some ten years ago the All-India Lingayat Conference 
met for the first time to discuss problems, both religious 
and secular, which affect the life and standing of the sect. 
In 1905 the Conference met at Bangalore, and the organi 
zation of the Mysore Education Fund was one of the re 
sults of the gathering. The Conference of 1913 met at 
Belgaum. There have been divisions of opinion on various 
questions, especially religious questions; and, in conse 
quence the Conference has resolved to restrict itself to 
educational, economic and other secular problems; and 
all religious subjects are to be dealt with by the Sivayog- 
mandir, which is clearly under the control of the Jangamas. 


Literature is not being neglected. The Lingayat com 
mentary on the Veddnta-sutras is by Srlpati Panditaradhya 
and is called Srlkara Bhdshya. One-half of this commen 
tary was printed many years ago in Canarese character, 
but, until recently, no copy, either manuscript or printed, 
of the second half was known to exist. A good Ms. of the 
latter has now been found, and Dewan Bahadur Putana 
Chetty, until recently one of the Councillors of the Mysore 
State, has arranged to have the whole text edited by com 
petent pandits and printed in devandgari. The philosophic 
standpoint of this commentary is said to be sakti-msisht- 
ddvaita. Lingayats state that there were two earlier 
Lingayat commentaries, by Renukacharya and Nilakanth- 
acharya respectively, but no Mss. of these works now 

G. The Left-hand Saktas 

Sakti is a Sanskrit word meaning strength, energy. It 
is used in every Hindu sect to designate the wife of a god 
as his energy in action. Lakshmi is the sakti of Vishnu ; 
while Uma is the sakti of Siva. But a number of sects 
give nearly all their attention to the sakti of Siva, to the 
neglect of Siva himself. These sects are known as Sdktas. 
They usually call the sakti Dem, i.e. the Goddess; but 
Kali, or Durga, is also frequently used. Their sectarian 
books are called Tantras. 

These Devi-worshipping sects fall into two groups, dis 
tinguished the one from the other as the Right-hand 
Saktas and the Left-hand Saktas. The Right-hand Saktas 
are scarcely distinguishable from ordinary Hindus, except 
in this that they worship Kali ; but the Left-hand Saktas 
have several very distinct characteristics. We need not 
discuss their theology here in detail : for us the significant 
point is their worship. According to them Moksha, i.e. 


release from transmigration, can be achieved in this evil 
age only by their peculiar ritual. They meet in private 
houses, and worship in secret. A group of worshippers is 
known as a chakra or circle. In the room there is either 
an image of the goddess or a yantra, that is, a diagram which 
mystically represents the goddess. The actual cult con 
sists in partaking of the Panchatattva, i.e. the five elements. 
They are also called the Panchamakara, i.e. the five m s, 
because the Sanskrit names of the elements all begin with 
the letter m : they are wine, meat, fish, parched grain and 
sexual intercourse. A worship-circle always consists of 
both men and women; and people of any caste or of no 
caste are admitted. The actual observances are foul 
beyond description, always involving promiscuity, and 
often incest. 

No modern organization, so far as the writer is aware, 
has undertaken to modernize or defend this system ; yet 
there have been tentative defences by two individuals. 
By far the greatest and best book belonging to the sect is 
the Mahdnirvdna Tantra. A translation of this work was 
published in 1900 by Manmatha Nath Dutt Sastrl, M.A. 1 
In his Introduction 2 the following paragraph occurs : 

However abhorrent these rites may appear on the face of them, 
there is no doubt that there is a great esoteric meaning behind 
them. All these, meat, wine, fish and women are objects of 
temptation. If a worshipper can overcome this temptation, 
the road to eternal bliss is clear for him. It is not an easy affair 
for a man to have a youthful and beautiful damsel before him 
and worship her as a goddess without feeling the least lustful 
impulse within him. He is to take wine, after dedicating it to 
the goddess, not for the purpose of intoxicating but for that of 
concentrating his mind on the object of his devotions. He is 
to take meat and fish, not because they are palatable dishes but 
because he must be in good health for performing religious rites. 

1 Calcutta, the Elysium Press. Rs. 10. 2 P. xxi. 


Thus we see that in Tantrik religion, a worshipper is to approach 
God through diverse objects of pleasure. He is to relinquish 
his desire and self and convert the various pursuits of enjoyment 
into instruments of spiritual discipline. 

Last year, a European published, under a nom de plume, 
a new translation 1 of the same work, with an Introduction, 
in which, while he does not openly state that he regards 
the system as good or right, he yet suggests some sort of 
defence at every point. 

H. The Smartas 

The word smdrta is an adjective formed from smriti. 
The Smartas are those Hindus found in many parts of 
India who follow Sankara, the great mediaeval exponent 
of the Vedanta, in his monistic exposition of the Vedanta, 
his unsectarian recognition of all the gods of Hinduism, 
and his insistence on strict adherence to the rules of ritual 
and of conduct laid down in the ancient sutras, which 
come under that section of Hindu sacred literature which 
is called smriti. 

Many Hindu scholars seek to commend Sankara s phi 
losophy to the world. Here we mention briefly an organ 
ization of a more practical character, which seeks to 
strengthen and defend the whole Smarta position, namely, 
the Advaita Sabha of &umbakonam. The best thing I 
can do to bring this movement vividly before readers is to 
transcribe the following passage from a most courteous 
letter which reached me last January from Mr. K. Sun- 
dararaman, who was a Professor of History in a college, but 
has now retired and lives in Kumbakonam. 

The Society was started in 1895 chiefly at the instigation 
of some of the learned Pandits of the Tanjore District among 

1 Tantra of the Great Liberation, by Arthur Avalon, London, Luzac, 
i os. net. 



whom must be mentioned first and foremost, the greatest modern 
Vedantist of South India, Raju Sastri of Mannargudi town. 

An annual assembly of Brahman Pandits of the school of 
Sankaracharya is convened usually in the month of July. It has 
always met in the town of Kumbakonam, where there is a Mutt 
(or monastery) presided over by one who claims to be a .lineal 
successor of the famous founder of the Advaita School of Vedanta. 
The Pandits who attend are chiefly drawn from the Southern or 
Tamil Districts of the Madras Presidency. Others are welcome, 
and there have been years during which Pandits have come in 
from Godavery and Krishna Districts which form part of the 
Telugu country. In the year 1911, the Annual Session met at 
1 Palghat, as an exceptional case. 

There are four permanent Examiners for the Sabha, who are 
all of them men of great merit and fame. They prefer to con 
duct their examinations orally, on the ground that such examina 
tions are more efficacious as a test of worth. They also set 
papers to such as are unwilling or unable to stand the searching 
oral test. Some time is also given to the older and abler Pandits 
to carry on Vakyartha or scholastic disputations on selected 
topics under the superintendence of the four Examiners. 

In the evenings, popular lectures are given by Pandits to 
spread a knowledge of the Vedanta religion among the lay mem 
bers and the women of the Brahman Community, and also to 
interest them in the work of the society. 

The annual session lasts usually for a week, but sometimes it 
has lasted 2 or 3 days more. During its course, the assembled 
Pandits are fed at the Society s expense. At its close, presents 
are made to them according to merit, and their travelling ex 
penses are also paid. The Examiners are at present paid Rs. 
50 each, besides their travelling expenses. 

The Pandits are attracted, not by the money gifts, but by 
their devotion to the branch of learning for the cultivation of 
which they spend their time and energy, and by their earnest 
desire to help forward its more systematic and thorough study. 
The spectacle is one rare in an age when men s interests are 
predominantly materialistic. 

The sabha has engaged a learned Pandit who is one of the 
four Examiners of the Sabha and who resides at Kumbakonam 


to teach the Vedanta philosophy as contained in the writings 
of Sankaracharya and of some of the later writers of his school. 
He has also the obligation to deliver every year a course of lec 
tures on a selected topic or work in two leading centres of one 
of the Tamil Districts. There is a small endowment of Rs. 
5,000 out of which this Pandit is paid one half of his salary. 
The other half of his salary is met from the subscriptions sporad 
ically collected each year. The entire annual income from all 
sources does not exceed Rs. 2,000. 

The work of the society is very humble in its character, and 
it also works too much on antique lines. Its work may, in course 
of time, get modernized ; and then it will live. As at present 
carried on, it gives not much of a promise for the future. 

Professor Sundararaman s own position will also be of 
interest. He believes that the whole of the ritualistic 
system of Hinduism conies from God, that every detail 
of it is right, that the punctilious observance of all its rules 
would bring health, strength and prosperity to the Indian 
people, and that the decline of India during the last two 
thousand years is the direct outcome of the neglect of these 
rules by large masses of the population. The following is 
a paragraph from one of his letters to the press : 1 

The consequences of rebellion against ritualistic Hinduism 
are writ plainly on the face of the history of India for two thou 
sand years and more. Buddha began the first revolt, and since 
then he has had many successors and imitators. The unity 
and might of the once glorious fabric of Hindu society and civil 
ization have been shattered, but not beyond hope of recovery. 
That recovery must be effected not by further doses of 
" Protestant" revolt, 2 but by the persistent and patient en 
deavour to observe the injunctions and precepts of the ancient 
Dharma 3 in its entirety. 

1 ISR., XXII, 23. 

2 This is a reference to the samajes, especially the Brahma and Prarthana 

? I.e. the religious law, 


I have been informed that, in Kathiawar, there is an 
other Smarta organization, the leader of which is Mr. 
Nathu Sarma of Porebandar and Bilkha. 


A. Caste Conferences 

The modern spirit and the difficulties of the times have 
stirred the leading^castes, as well as the leao^n^sects, of 
Hinduism to united action. The earliest of all the Caste 
organizations was the Kj^a^tiia^Co^iference, which was 
first held in 1887. These gatherings were already very 
common by 1897 ; for Ranade refers to them in an address 
delivered that year. 1 Caste Conferences may be local, or 
provincial, or may represent all India. Like other con 
ferences, they are held during the cold season, very often 
during the Christmas week. Printed reports of these 
gatherings are very seldom issued ; so that I have had to 
rely on notices in the newspapers for my information. 

I have noted Conferences of Brahmans and of Brahman 
sub-castes, Kshatriyas, Rajputs, Vaisyas, Kayasthas and 
Kayastha sub-castes, Vellalas, Reddys, Nairs, Jats, Pa- 
tidars, Daivadnyas, Namasudras, etc. 

There are two^n^jn^jr^tiy^s in these conferences. On 
the one hand, they share the widespread impulse to defend 

~*. -^""x. _^ ^^^^>t^_ -^^^-_ -- Vj " .. --N_x"x^-"s^ 

the whole of Hinduism, and, very naturally, within that 
wider object, thdr^owji^cj^ste^gnyjle^es. But on the 
other, there is a strong desire to p.^matejhe^rcs^ity 
of Jjhe^caste ; and that of necessity der^iands the introduc 
tion of such reform^ as may help the caste in the difficult 
circumstances of the present. Frequently the caste appeals 
to the Government for special privileges which they once 
enjoyed or which they would like to obtain. Resolutions 

1 Essays, 165. 


are passed on the subject of the age of marriage, of funeral 
expenses, and of marriage expenses. Eduatio,n usually 
bulks rather large, and female education is frequently 
advocated. There is a grjaj^d^r^io^^iri^gr^a^r 
umyjnjhj^ste. Frequent proposals are made for mak 
ing marriages possible between sub-castes which at present 
do not intermarry. 
For some time so^iajjrefojnii^r^ 

j^es. The following is from 
a leader in the Indian Social Reformer: 

The idea of caste conferences has always been repugnant 
to us, even when they have for their object the prosecution of 
social reforms. The caste sentiment is so ingrained in the Hindu 
mind, it so deeply permeates every fibre of our being, and it so 
thoroughly colours our outlook, that it seems to us that the only 
effective course for those who wish to see this state of mind 
altered, is resolutely to cut themselves off from anything savour 
ing of the idea. . . . 

An occasional European like Mrs. Annie Besant may allow 
her intellect to play with the idea of caste without much practical 
effect. Her nervous system is strung to different social ideals, 
and mere intellection does not produce conduct. But with one 
who is born a Hindu and who believes caste to _bejthe^great 
nw^^r^e]|K^^t?kill, onljTolieaTtUudeTs^afe and possible. 
He must not associate himself with any movement which, under 
whatever name or pretext, aims at setting up caste as its goal 
and standard. To the subtle j>oisonof caste, its self-compla 
cency, and its pharisaism, the HinHiPnervous system has for 
centuries been accustomed to respond. Unconsciously, the 
best and most resolute of reformers are apt to have the old 
monster taking liberties with them if they slide into the attitude 
of acquiescence in such movements. These observations apply 
to caste conferences which meet with the object of effecting 
reforms in the habits and customs of their respective castes. 
They apply more forcibly to such movements as the Saraswat 
Conference recently held at Belgaum, whose sole object is to 
amalgamate and perpetuate this particular caste. The charac- 


ter of the movement is sufficiently clear from the fact that the 
one resolution about social reform, regarding the marriageable 

I age, which was sought to be introduced, had to be dropped for 

ft fear of breaking up the Conference. 1 

But experience seems to show that the 
ency^ is in most Conferences stronger than the conservative. 
The following is from the same journal as the above : 

Judging however by the broad lines on which the resolutions 
passed at the annual gatherings of most of these bodies are based, 
there is good reason to think that they all tend to the prop 
agation of liberal ideas on religious and social questions through 
out the land. 2 

Most magazines are inclined to take quite a hopeful view 
of these gatherings. How the leaven works even among 
rather backward communities, may be seen from the fol 
lowing brief report of a meeting of one group of Sikhs in 
the Panjab : 

The Sikh Jats assembled the other day in a meeting held at 
Budhi, District Jullundar, with the object of giving up the evil 
customs prevalent among them and effecting useful and neces 
sary reforms. Resolutions were passed enjoining the curtail 
ment of expense on occasions of marriages and other festivities 
and forbidding drink and nautches on such occasions. It was 
further resolved that the siapa should also be abolished, and 
that on no occasion should indecent songs be allowed. 3 

Two groups of people which, strictly speaking, belong 
to the great Outcaste population of India must find men 
tion here ; and that for two reasons. First, both of these 
communities are amongst the very best of the Outcastes. 
Secondly, there have arisen among them organizations of 
sufficient energy and value to raise them to a place in 
modern India alongside caste people. See the other Out- 
caste stirrings below. 4 

* ISR., XX, 423- 2 Ib., XXI, 241. 8 Ib., XX, 5 57- 4 Pp. 368-70. 


B. The Tiyas 

Scattered up and down the west coast of Southern 
India there live three Outcaste communities which are of 
the same stock, and which, taken together, number 
1,800,000. In South Kanara they are called Villa vas, in 
Malabar Tiyas and in Travancore Elavas. They now 
differ from each other in a variety of ways, and neither 
intermarry nor dine together, but originally they were one. 
The new movement aims at emancipating them from the 
disabilities of their position as Outcastes, advancing them 
economically and educationally, and fusing the three 
groups into one body. The spirit of the race and the 
position in which the awakening found them are both 
clearly reflected in the following extracts from an address 
presented by them to Mrs. Besant, the Theosophic leader, 
in 1904 : 

We are very pleased to hear that although born a Christian 
you are prepared to die a Hindu. . . . When you visited 
Calicut you were admitted as a guest in one of the palaces 
belonging to a member of the Zamorin s family. This was ren 
dered possible by the fact of your having become a convert to 
Hinduism. But as we are Hindus by very birth we are pre 
vented from approaching the place. . . . Even the sight of us 
within close proximity is a source of pollution. ... If under 
such circumstances we are to gain admission to places accessible 
to you, we find a way to it through you. And it is this : It 
is impossible for us to be born Christians. We shall therefore 
become Christian converts first and then turn Hindus as you 
have done. This will relieve us of our disability as you have 
cured yourself of your disability. 

Although they are Outcastes, they have long been recog 
nized as possessing the right of studying and practising 
the old Hindu medicine, and also Astrology. Consequently, 
in many families a knowledge of Sanskrit is handed down 


from father to son. For this and other reasons they have 
not been nearly so crushed and depressed as most Out- 
caste tribes are. 

In one of the old medical families, settled three miles 
north of Trivandrum in Travancore, a boy was born who 
was called Nanu Ashan. He knew a little Sanskrit, having 
been taught the medical lore traditional in his family. 
But, besides that, he managed one way or another to per 
suade some Hindu scholar or scholars to give him some 
thing of a Hindu theological training. I have failed to 
learn who his teachers were, or what sect or school they 
belonged to. He became an ascetic, taking the name of 
Narayana. He is now known as 

About 1890 he began to urge his community to make a 
new beginning religiously. Hitherto they had been devil- 
worshippers like the mass of the Outcastes. He urged them 
tojbuild^temples j^r^hemsdves, and to worship the Hindu 
gods in orthodox fashion, but to appoint members of their 
own community as priests. Gradually the movement 
caught on. It has spread to the North and the South ; 
and there are now thirty temples in all. A small Sanskrit 
school is usually attached to each temple. The movement 
is thoroughly orthodox in everything except in its non- 
Brahman priests. So much for the religious leader. 

The other leader is a layman. Within Travancore 
State the Elavas were under serious disabilities. Govern 
ment service was closed to them, and their children were 
not allowed to study in the schools. A young man (now 
Dr. Palpu of the Mysore Medical Service) succeeded, in 
extremely difficult circumstances, in getting an education 
for himself; and then set to work to get the disabilities 
removed. Government service under the Travancore 
Government is now open to the community, and most of 
the schools are open also. 


An organization was started in 1903 to draw the people 
together and to work for their betterment. It is called 
the S. N. D. P. Yogam, or in full, the Sri Narayana Dharma 
Paripalana Yogam, i.e. Union for the Protection of the Sri 
Narayana Religion. This union, which represents the three 
sections of the community, has its headquarters in Trivan- 
drum. Local Yogams have been started in some thirty- 
three places, notably in Parur, Calicut and Tellicherry. 
An Annual Conference is held, now at one place, now at 
another. Sometimes an Industrial Exhibition accompanies 
the Conference. The Yogam supports a number of 
preachers, some of whom are sannyasls. They move about 
the country, giving lectures in the temples and elsewhere, 
and teaching the people. Most of the temples are related 
one way or another to the Yogam, and some are directly 
managed by it. They have an educational fund, from 
which money is advanced as loans to poor students. At 
Alwaye, where Sankara, the great Vedantist, was born, 
they have a monastery which they wish to transform into 
a Sanskrit-English College. A good deal of money and 
effort is being used to spread industrial and agricultural 
education and to advance the community economically. 
Social reform is also sought. A magazine, the Vivekodaya, 
is published from the office in Trivandrum. 

The religious side of the movement has very little reality 
in it. Most of the leaders have adopted it, as some of them 
said to me, merely to catch the interest of the masses, 1 
and to keep them from becoming Christians. On the other 
hand, the new system is perhaps a little better than the 
old devil-worship. It is also of considerable interest 
to the student as a modern parallel to the rise of the 
Lingayats. 2 

1 Cf. the Arya Samaj, above, pp. 118-20. 2 P. 301, above. 


C. The Vokkaligas 

The Vokkaligas also are technically Outcastes, but 
really are as fine a people as great masses of Sudras are. 
They are the peasant class of the Mysore State, and num 
ber about a million and a quarter, one fourth of the whole 
population of the State. They are a simple, hardy, kindly 
people, but, otherwise, they were very backward until the 
new movement waked them. 

In 1906 seven individuals came together, and said, "It 
is time that we bestir ourselves to see that the poor have 
the benefit of education." They found a rich man, and 
promised to work, if he would provide money. He promised 
to give Rs. 10,000. 

It was resolved to hold a Conference in Bangalore. 
The peasants came in thousands ; enthusiasm grew ; and 
Rs. 50,000 were subscribed on the spot. Thus the Vok- 
kaligara Sangha, or union, was formed, and the work began. 
The aims of the movement are as follows : 

(1) To adopt means for the awakening of the people by send 
ing lecturers into the villages to preach to them the value of 
education, the advantage of improving their methods of cultiva 
tion, the benefit accruing from paying attention to sanitation, 
hygiene, domestic science, etc. 

(2) To hold periodical Conferences in different parts of the 
State, at which all questions relating to the amelioration of the 
community are dealt with. A spirit of unity, concord, and 
brotherly feeling is sure to result from such meetings. 

(3) To establish the headquarters of the Association in 
Bangalore, where arrangements will be made for the boarding 
and lodging of the students coming from the country for study. 
It is intended to make it the centre of activity. Courses of 
illustrated lectures on all useful subjects, a reading room, a 
library, a museum, on a small scale, of the arts and crafts of the 
community, a gymnasium, athletic grounds, evening classes in 
technical subjects, are all proposed to be instituted. Similar 


institutions on a smaller scale may be erected in the principal 
towns of the State as funds permit. 

(4) To establish and maintain Demonstration Farms, show 
ing modern methods of cultivation and machinery employed for 
the purpose. The organisation of exhibitions to show to the 
people how to secure better housing conditions, and better 
sanitary and healthy surroundings are also intended. 

(5) The publication of a newspaper and other periodicals to 
educate the people and to spread among them wholesome and 
progressive ideas. It is intended to make illustrated journalism 
a feature of this branch of work. 

(6) To work in co-operation with the Government in their 
efforts to bring about the progress of the State. 

The Sangha now owns a press which does printing in 
both English and Canarese, a building worth Rs. 30,000, 
with a hostel for one hundred boys on a site given by Gov 
ernment, and a newspaper, the Vokkaligara Patrika, one 
of the best in the State. The aim of the movement is to 
get the peasant boys to come for education. They live at 
the hostel ; those who can afford it pay ; those who can 
not are paid for by the Society. The boys attend the 
Government schools ; there is the closest cooperation and 
good will between the Government and the Peasants 
Movement. The best methods of Western organization 
have been adapted to the needs of the organization and the 
spirit of service dominates all the work. After seven years, 
with its position now well established, the Peasants Move 
ment realizes how much work is yet to be done. The special 
development now to be undertaken is the improvement of 
agricultural education and methods, and the simple, sober, 
religious, intelligent character of the peasants makes them 
good material on which to work. Four Conferences have 
been held. Lecturers go into the interior on the occa 
sions of fairs and festivals where large numbers of people 


collect to make known to them the aims and objects of 
the Association, to enrol new subscribers for the Associa 
tion s newspaper, and also new members of the Association. 1 

A bold attempt has been made during recent years to 

gather together the whole of the Hindu people in a single 

organization, partly in self-defence, partly for further in 

struction in religion. 

i. By the year 1890, as a result^of the^work of the 

Arya Samaj, of Ramakrishna and the TheosoDhists. there 

>--O ^--ta. S*~> -*^-S^^<~~~~ *~~^~*-^< --- W 

was a general uprising of the educated Hindu spirit in 
defence of Hinduism. Out of this widespread desire to 
strengthen the old faith there sprang a number of organ 
izations. In the Panjab the movement was started by a 
Brahman, who had been a cook, but is now known as 

the^Arva Samajjon orthodox Hinduism, he attacked the 
Samaj in turn, and taught the people to retain their idols 
and live in orthodox fashion. He had had no Sanskrit 
training nor English education, but he was a brilliant 
speaker and he was so successful that a number of pandits 
and titled men gathered round him. Then in 1895 they 
founded the Sanatan Dharma Sabha in Hardwar and 
Delhi. In 1896 Svami Gyananandaji started in Muttra a 
movement called the Nigamagama Mandali. In Bengal 
the Dharma Mahamandali 2 arose. In Southern India 
Pandit Sastrlji Pade founded the Bharata Dharma Maha- 
parishad. All these organizations aimed at defg(iclin 
orth^cloxJEJin^jiism, but they were not connected with one 
another. 3 

1 See LS7?., May lyth, 1914, pp. 435 and 438. 

2 A Sanatana Dharma Rakshini Sabha had been formed in Calcutta as 
early as 1873. See Dayanand Sarasvati (Natesan) 28. 

3 Mahamandal Magazine, vol. I, no. 4, pp. 1-2. 


By igoo these movements had made so much progress 
that a natipnal^Conference was held at Delhi under the 
presidency of the Maharaja of Darbhahga. One note 
worthy episode in the Conference was a great procession in 
which the President walked barefooted, carrying a copy 
of the Vedas, and attended by nearly a hundred thousand 
people. 1 

2. In 1902 it became possible to unite the various 
bodies in one large organization, and the Bharata Dharma 
Majiajnandala was formed at Muttra. SvamI Gyan- 
anandaji became Organizing Secretary, and Gopmath, a 
graduate, worked along with him. Pandit Dm Dayal 
continued to do very valuable work for the movement. 
The Mahamandala was registered, and a constitution was 
drawn up. In 1905 the headquarters of the Association 
were moved to Benares, where they are to-day. 

The following are said to be the objects of the Associa 
tion : 

(a) To promote Hindu religious education in accordance with 
the Sanatan Dharma, to diffuse the knowledge of the Vedas, 
Smritis, Purans and other Hindu Shastras and to introduce, in 
the light of such knowledge, useful reforms into Hindu Life 
and Society. 

(b) To promote and enrich the Sanskrit and Hindi literatures 
in all the branches. 

(c) To introduce such useful reforms as may be warranted by 
the Shastras in the management of the Hindu Charitable and 
religious institutions and Tirthas, i.e. sacred places. 

(<T) To establish, affiliate and control Branch Sabhas in 
different parts of India. 

(e) To found and maintain new and to support the existing 
Hindu Colleges, Schools, Libraries and publishing establish 
ments in consonance with the object of the Association. 

1 Madras Decennial Missionary Conference Report, 306-7. 


(/) To adopt all proper and lawful means and measures to 
carry out the above objects. 

The work of the Association is distributed among five 
departments, The Preaching Department, The Religious 
Endowments Department, The Department of Sacred 
Learning, The Library and Research Department, and 
The Publishing Department. 

The Mahamandala publishes an Anglo-Hindi monthly, 
the Mahamandal Magazine, and several provincial maga 
zines, in the vernacular; and the Research Department 
has its own organ, called Vidyd Ratnakar. One of the chief 
difficulties of the Association is to find preachers "worthy 
of the name": an attempt is being made to meet this 
need by means of a training-school at headquarters. 

The Mahamandala advertises a long list of books for 
sale; and the following note comes at the end of the 
advertisement : 




and all kinds of Sanskrit and Hindu religious books, 

Apply to the Manager, Gurudham, Benares City. 

Numerous booklets for free distribution are also appearing. 
Under the general supervision of this great national 
body come a number of Provincial Associations, and under 
these in turn are some 600 local societies, called Sabhas 
in the towns and villages. There are provincial offices 
and organizations in Calcutta, Bombay, Lahore, Ajmere, 
Muttra and Darbhanga. There is no provincial organiza 
tion in Madras. 


For eight years the newly formed organization enjoyed 
abounding prosperity under the gujd^rj^e^f^S^mi^G^an- 
aiiandaji. In IQIO, however, he decided to retire from the 
position of organizing secretary. He was able to give a 
very satisfactory account of his stewardship during the 
eight years. The Association had been recognized as a 
body representing the whole Hindu community by the 
heads of the chief Hindu sects and religious orders. Some 
600 branches had been opened, and about 400 institutions 
had become affiliated. Nearly 200 preachers were em 
ployed; a considerable literature had been put into cir 
culation ; and large sums of money had been subscribed. 

The Mahamandala has never recovered from the loss of 
this organizer s work. For two years after his retirement 
there was constant weakness, and bickering. In 1912 the 
chief secretary was forced to resign through vigorous action 
taken by the Bengal Provincial Organization, and Mr. 
Sarada Charan Mitra, who was until recently a Justice of 
the High Court of Calcutta, became Chief Secretary in his 
place ; and it is hoped that work will now go on satisfac 
torily. The Maharaja of Darbhanga is the General 
President of the Mahamandala, and by his wealth and 
prestige adds greatly to its strength ; but the leading per 
sonality in the movement at present is Pandit Madan 
Mohan Malaviya, who is one of the most prominent men 
in the United Provinces as an educationalist and politician, 
and who has been the leading spirit in all that has been 
done to found a Hindu University. 

3. Through its extreme orthodoxy the Mahamandala 
has won the adherence of numerous ruling princes and 
sectarian pontiffs ; and tens of thousands of young Hindus 
are ready to applaud both its theological position and its 
propaganda; but of the many thousands who shout ap 
proval there are very few indeed who are willing to lay a 


hand to the work. The contrast between orthodoxy and 
such bodies as the Brahma Samaj or the Arya Samaj in 
this regard is very striking, and very significant : there is 
no spontaneous living energy in the orthodox community. 
Then, thinking Hindus all over the country disapprove 
very seriously of the reactionary character of its teaching. 
The editor of the Indian Social Reformer, referring to the 
fact that the Mahamandala wishes to uphold the old rule, 
that no Hindu may cross the sea, comments severely on 
the unhealthy character of the whole propaganda ; 1 while 
the Leader of Allahabad says : 

We receive from time to time papers relating to the internal 
strife in the Bharat Dharma Mahamandal with the request that 
we should express our opinion on the merits of the personal 
"controversies that have been going on. We are sorry we must 
decline the courteous invitation. To our mind the best that 
could happen to the country, the Hindu community and the Maha 
mandal itself is that that organization should decree its own 
abolition. It is so very reactionary in its religious and social 
tendencies and activities that far from promoting the well- 
being and advancement of the community, it does a lot of harm 
whenever it does anything at all, that is to say. Its members 
are so wealthy and influential that if they are so minded they 
can make themselves a powerful help to progress. But the 
misfortune and mischief is that they do not. 2 

The Mahamandala stands above all things for the defence 
o^th^w^le_f^Hinduism, the^S ajiatana^ j)harma , the 
Eternal Religion, as they call it. The foundation of such 
an organization is in itself almost a portent. Hinduism 
has never in the course of its whole history been a single 
organization. It has been a natural growth, springing up 
and spreading like the grass, the flowers and the forests of 
India. No one has ever been able to count its sects, or to 

1 ISR., XXII, 121. 2 ib., XXII, 518. 


classify its multitudes of wandering ascetics. Nor until 
now has the Hindu ever felt the need of union for defence. 
Apologetic against Jains and Buddhists one does find in 
the ancient literature ; and there are frequent references to 
persecution also ; but these things were left to philosophers 
and kings : the ordinary Hindu went his way unheeding. 
How great then is the pressure of the modern spirit and of 
Christian criticism to-day ! 

It is also worthy of notice that, although the purpose 
of the organization is to defend and maintain the ancient 
religion unchanged, the modern spirit shows itself in much 
of the work of the Association. First of all, like every other 
modern religious movement in India, the Mahamandala 
finds itself dnyjjn^to^se^foj^th^^ 

lig^n^foj^lljmnkind. To defend a religion which is butf 
the religion of the Hindus is felt to be impossible for the 
modern mind. Hence we have the extraordinary spectacle/ 
of this organization, created for the express purpose or 
defending the religion which in all its own sacred books is 
expressly restricted to the four highest castes Brahmans, 
Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras, making the following v 
declaration : 

But the Sanatan Dharma is not marked by any such spirit t 
of narrowness or exclusiveness. It is not a particular creed \ 
promising salvation to its followers alone ; it is the universal 
Dharma for all mankind. 1 

Again, in all the sacred literature of Hinduism the rule 
is laid down that the Vedas must not be made known to 
any one except initiated members of the three twice-born 
castes, Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas. No woman, 
and no Sudra may hear the sacred words, not to speak of 
Outcastes and foreigners. This rule may be found thou- 

1 Mahamandal Magazine, vol. I, no. i, p. 8. 


sands of times in all the great books, legal and philosophical. 
In the earliest of Hindu law-books we read : 

If a Sudra listens intentionally to a recitation of the Veda, 
his ears shall be filled with some molten tin or lac. If he recites 
Veda texts, his tongue shall be cut out. If he remembers them, 
his body shall be split in twain. 1 

Yet this most orthodox movement, backed by the heads 
of all the greatest Hindu sects, sells copies of any part of 
the Vedas to any one who cares to buy them, and en 
courages their study, no matter what a man s caste may 
be. 2 Clearly, the freedom as well as the universality of 
Christianity is working with irresistible force within the 
very citadel of Hinduism. 

Perhaps the most striking evidence of the working of the 
leaven that has yet appeared is a paper which occurs in 
the first number of the official organ of the movement, The 
Mahdmandal Magazine. It is a clear, well-written, for 
cible paper by Professor Phani Bhusan Adhikari, M.A., 
on The Need of a Critical HistoryoJ^Hinduism. The fol 
lowing quotations from this article will show where this 
thoughtful defender of orthodox Hinduism stands; but 
the paper as a whole is most significant and well worth 
study : 

But Hinduism has erred too much on the side of its catholicity. 
Its philosophy has made it unpractical, as every philosophy 
does its adherents. What would have otherwise been an excel 
lent virtue has proved to be a pernicious vice. Hinduism is un 
practical, and who knows to what extent the unpractical nature 
of the Hindu character may have been due to the catholicity of 
its religious spirit? In adopting everything within itself, it 
does not appear to have made a selection between the useful and 
the useless ; and in cases where this selection has been of the 
useful, it is reluctant to give up what, once so useful, has now 
become not only useless but positively injurious. . . . 

1 Gautama Dharmasutra, XII, 4-6. 2 See above, p. 318. 


Now, if we take a somewhat wide survey of what popularly 
goes by the name of Hinduism (and Hinduism is now too much 
popular), we find that it consists mostly in the observance of 
certain practices, the meaning of the use of which is hardly 
known to or can be explained even by those who pose as au 
thorities on the religion. . . . 

Those who have eyes to see will observe that the present-day 
Hinduism of the popular type consists in the scrupulous per 
formance of certain rites and the unquestioning maintenance of 
certain forms the meaning of which is almost unknown. It is 
these which under the name of Sanatana Dharma is the all of 
popular Hinduism. . . . 

For permanent results of a beneficial nature, some other 
method of action has become desirable to adopt. The method 
that suggests itself for the purpose is historical and critical 
(although both go hand-in-hand in a subject like religion). 
This is the method which has been found highly useful in pre 
serving the essentials of Christianity. 

The Hindu nation is passing now through what may be called* 
a transition-period. The situation is very critical. There? 
are signs all around of a break with the old which has been found ^ 
to be effete and in some cases positively unhealthy for the life I 
of the nation in the present altered conditions. . . . 

What is wanted is a band of scholars forming an association 
with a common object. . . . 

In the nineties a movement arose in the Panjab for re 
admitting to the Hindu community people who had passed 
over to other faiths. 1 Since a Hindu becomes impure 
through embracing another religion, the method adopted 
is to subject those who return to a purifying ceremony. 
Hence the name Suddhi Sabha, purification society. At a 
later date other provinces formed similar organizations; 
and now there is an All-India Suddhi Sabha, which holds 
1 Ranade, Essays, 164. Census of India, 1911, vol. I, 128. 


an annual Conference. In 1913 the Conference was held 
at Karachi in the Christmas holidays. The Arya Samaj 
still take a large share in the work ; but other bodies, and 
notably the Prarthana Samaj, are interested. 


The Jain system arose within Hinduism in the sixth 
century B.C., a little before Buddhism ; and, like Buddhism, 
broke away from the parent faith at an early date and 
became a distinct religion. It is, like Buddhism, an 
atheistic system. The supreme religious aim of the system 
is to free the soul from matter. Its chief doctrine is 
that there are souls in every particle of earth, air, water 
and fire, as well as in men, animals and plants; and its 
first ethical precept is, Do not destroy life. In conse 
quence, the Jain has to obey many rules in order to avoid 
taking life in any of its forms. Another of the original 
beliefs is that the endurance of austerities is a great help 
towards salvation. From the very beginning, the com 
munity was divided into monks and laymen, the former 
alone subjecting themselves to the severest discipline. In 
Jainism the Tlrthakaras hold the place which the Buddhas 
hold in Buddhism. By the Christian era the Jains, like 
the Buddhists, had begun to use idols. Images of the 
Tlrthakaras are worshipped in their temples. 

The above brief account of the rise of Jainism is drawn 
from the writings of Western scholars who have studied the 
original authorities. But there is a group of scholarly 
Jains who do not accept these statements. Their account 
of the history runs as follows : 

The Jain system was founded in AyodhyiS, untold ages ago by 
Rishabha. It was reformed by Parsvanath in the eighth cen 
tury. The last reformer, Mahavira, rose in the sixth century. 
Jainism has been a rival of Hinduism from the beginning. 


All my information about modern movements among 
the Jains I owe to two friends, Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson of 
Rajkot, Kathiawar, and Mr. J. L. Jaini, Barrister-at-Law. 
Mr. Jaini has revised and accepted as correct the whole 
of my essay from this point onwards. 

At an early date the Jain community broke into two 
sects. What divided them was the question whether 
Jain monks should wear clothes or not; and the names 
of the sects still indicate this difference. One sect is called 
Svetambara, that is, clothed-in-white ; the other Digam- 
bara, that is, clothed-in-atmosphere, because their monks 
wear no clothes. 

After the Christian era the Jain community seems to 
have grown rapidly in numbers and influence. They were 
prosperous and wealthy business people. In various parts 
of India they obtained royal patronage, and abundance of 
resources. In both the North and the South there are re 
mains of architecture from the early centuries which show 
that the sect was very prominent. They had numerous 
scholars who created a great literature on the original 
sacred books of the sect, and also cultivated with success 
all the sciences which were current in India in mediaeval 

But their power was broken in the South by the rise of 
the Sivaite and Vishnuite sects ; and at a later date the same 
cause steadily weakened and depressed them in the North. 
It seems clear that for many centuries there has been a 
continuous drift of the Jain population into Hinduism; 
while Hindu thought and practice have as continuously 
found their way into Jain temples and homes. In Svetam 
bara temples to-day the minis trants are usually Hindus; 
and nearly all Jain families call in Brahmans to assist 
them in their domestic ceremonies. 

The steady drift towards Hinduism is still in progress, as 


the following table will show. The three last Reports of 
the Census of India give the following as the figures for the 
Jain population : 

1891 .... 1,500,000 
1901 .... 1,334,000 
1911 .... 1,248,000 

In 1473 A.D. a movement arose amongst Svetambara 
Jains in Ahmabadad against idolatry, with the result that a 
group broke away and formed a non-idolatrous sect. They 
are called Sthanakavasls. The three sects, Digambaras, 
Svetambaras and Sthanakavasls, divide the Jain com 
munity fairly evenly between them, each numbering about 
400,000 souls. 

Colebrooke published a certain amount of information 
about the Jain sect early in the nineteenth century, but 
their early history was not understood until the Pali litera 
ture of Ceylonese Buddhism became available towards the 
end of the century. A number of the Jain texts have been 
translated into English in recent years, and many Jain 
inscriptions have been deciphered ; but much still remains 
to be done to make the history and the teaching of the sect 
fully intelligible. 

2. Jains began to take advantage of Western education 
both in Bengal and in Bombay almost as early as any other 
community ; and they have prospered exceedingly in busi 
ness under British rule. They are a very wealthy com 
munity. The pearl trade of the East is almost altogether 
in their own hands. Hence Jains are scattered in many 
parts of the world, notably in Britain, France and South 
Africa. One Jain has received the honour of knighthood, 
Sir Vasonji Tricumji of Bombay. 

Yet the better men of the community are deeply con 
scious that the Jains are in a very perilous position. The 


following quotations will show what some of the leaders 

Are we on our way to attain that level of life ? I think we 
are not. Firstly, because we are dwindling down year after 
year. Secondly, our little community is a house divided against 
itself. Thirdly, we have reduced our power to the lowest limit 
by cutting the community into numberless castes. 1 

Alas ! the body of Jainism is in a very bad way. It is not 
only ill, but perhaps it is already lifeless. . . . Knowledge of 
Jainism is almost extinct. Very few original texts are extant ; 
they are unknown to the Jaina masses, even to their learned 
leaders, and are very rarely read even in private, not to speak of 
public meetings. The spiritual or rather anti-spiritual food of 
the masses is derived partly from crude half Jaina, half non- 
Jama truths or half truths and partly superstitions upon which 
their lives are based in our towns and villages. . . . The Jaina 
community is dying ; perhaps it is already dead ; at any rate 
its condition is very serious. 2 

In consequence, a keen desire for organization and reform 
began to manifest itself about 1890; and rather valuable 
results have followed. There has been no movement 
created comparable with the Brahma Samaj or the Arya 
Samaj ; nor have the Jains had noteworthy leaders like 
Ram Mohan Ray or Dayananda Sarasvati. Yet for the 
last twenty years there have been groups of young men who 
have earnestly worked for the uplifting of the community, 
and there has been one Jain leader who is well worthy of 
mention here. 

This notable man, Rajchandra Ravjibhai, 3 was a Sthana- 
kavasi, and was born in Morvi State, Kathiawar, in 1868. 
He received no English education. He was a jeweller in 
Bombay for some eight or nine years and died in 1900. 

1 Digambar Jain, Kartik, 1969, p. 33. 

2 Jain Gazette, May, 1911, pp. 74-75. 

3 See his portrait, Plate XI, facing page 376. 


He was a gifted man and a poet, and so is usually called 
Raj chandra Kavi : " Kavi " means poet. A good deal 
of his influence was due to his extraordinary memory which 
enabled him to attend to one hundred things at once. He 
was a reformer, and yet more of an idealist than a reformer. 
Although a Sthanakavasi, he was so eager to see the three 
sects united that he used to say there was no harm in wor 
shipping in a Svetambara temple. He declared that 
neither murti (idol) nor mumati (mouth-cloth *) led to moksa 
(release) but a good life. He held that the moral ideal 
underlying the legends was the great thing, not the legends 
themselves. He thus sought to weaken the religious sanc 
tion of old customs rather than to produce any immediate 
and radical change in conduct. The following quotation 
gives his attitude towards reform : 

His views on the social and political questions of the day were 
liberal. He said that there ought not to be anything like caste 
distinctions amongst the Jains, as those who were Jains were all 
ordered to lead a similar life. Among all the agencies for reform, 
he assigned the highest place to the religious reformer, working 
with the purest of motives and without ostentation. He found 
fault with the religious teachers of the present day, because 
they preached sectarianism, did not realise the change of the 
times, and often forgot their real sphere in the desire to proclaim 
themselves as avatars (incarnations) of God, and arrogated to 
themselves powers which they did not possess. In his later 
years, it was clear that he was preparing to fulfil his life s mission 
in that capacity. But unfortunately death intervened and the 
mission remained unfulfilled. 2 

As a result of English education and the influence of such 
advanced men as Kavi, there is a common leaven working 
throughout the Jain community, and especially among the 

1 The mouth-cloth is worn by Jain ascetics, lest they should inadver 
tently swallow an insect. 

2 Pioneer, 22nd May, 1901. 


educated men. This new spirit manifests itself in various 
ways, first of all, in sectarian conferences. 

3. The Digambara sect were first in the field. They 
held their first annual Conference about 1893. A year or 
eighteen months later, as a result of the work of the Con 
ference, a group of the younger men belonging to all the 
three sects organized themselves as the Jain Young Men s 
Association. Then in 1903 the Svetambara sect began to 
hold a Conference; and the Sthanakavasls followed in 
1906. These three sectarian conferences have proved on 
the whole the most successful of all the efforts made during 
this period ; but a good deal has also been done by local 
groups unconnected with any conference; and it is prob 
able that in the future still greater things will be accom 
plished by those who are seeking to unite the three sects 
in one. 

The aims which these organizations have in view are, in 
the main, to unite, strengthen and build up the community, 
so that individuals may not drift away from it, and to 
introduce such education and fresh life as will adapt the 
Jains to modern conditions. All parties seem to recognize 
that these great ends cannot be achieved unless their reli 
gious teachers, whether sadhus (celibate ascetics) or priests, 
receive a good modern education, so as to enable them to 
lead the community in the difficult circumstances of to-day, 
and to meet, on the one hand, the assaults of materialism, 
and, on the other, the criticism of the Arya Samaj and of 
Christianity. Jains want their sadhus to become edu 
cated, capable, modern men like missionaries. All realize 
also that it is of the utmost importance that the boys and 
girls of the community should receive not only a modern 
education, but such religious and moral training as shall 
make them good Jains. There is also a clear realization 
that the old religion must be uplifted ; but as to how this is 


to be done there is no unanimity. The policy advocated 
by the educated young men is a good deal different from 
that favoured by conservatives, whether sadhus, priests 
or laymen. 

The chief methods employed by the various organizations 
are (a) institutions for giving a religious education to the 
sadhus and priests, (b) hostels for students, in which each 
student is required to study Jain books and live a Jain life, 
(c) newspapers in the vernaculars and in English, (d) the 
publication of literature, both the ancient sacred texts and 
modern books, and (e) the introduction of religious and 
social reform. We had better now look at the leading 
organizations in turn. 

4. The All-India Digambara Jain Conference, Bharatvar- 
shlya Digambara Jain Mahasabha, the office of which is at 
Khurai, C.P., was founded about 1893. It has proved a 
very useful organization; yet it has had its difficulties. 
At the annual gathering at Muzaffarnagar in 1911 there 
was a tremendous dispute, which ended in a suspension 
of the Conference. Later on peace was made. It has 
succeeded in creating several valuable institutions, nota 
bly the Syadvada Mahavidyalaya at Benares, in which 
the priests of the sect receive something of a modern 
training, an orphanage in Delhi, a number of Hostels in 
various parts of the country, and a Widows Home in 
Bombay. The Digambaras support a number of news 
papers, the Digambara Jain, a monthly magazine, published 
in Surat, and containing articles in several languages, the 
Hindi Jain Gazette, the Jain Mitra, and a woman s paper 
called the Jain Ndrl Hitkarl. 

5. The Svetambaras met for the first time in Conference 
at Marwar in 1903, and they have met seven times since 
then. The Conference has an office in Bombay, and issues 
a paper, the Conference Herald. Books for the moral and 


religious training of Jains in school and college are being 
produced in five grades. Hostels for students have been 
organized in several places, and a training college for sadhus 
at Benares, the Yasovijaya Jain Pathsala, in which they 
receive an English education and a training in the sacred 
books. The Conference has also undertaken to index the 
books in the Treasure-houses, i.e. libraries, at Cambay, 
Jessalmir, Patan, and elsewhere. This work is attended 
with considerable difficulty, owing to the Jain habit of 
concealing their sacred books. 

One of the chief points of Jain devotion is the building of 
temples. These are not erected to meet the needs of the 
population, but as works of piety. Consequently, there are 
vast numbers of Jain temples, quite out of proportion to 
the number of Jains. The Conference sees to the restora 
tion and repair of the most important of these. 

Like Hindus, the Svetambara Jains have discovered that 
a large amount of the income of their temples is misused, and 
various plans are being tried by the Conference to rectify 
the matter. At Palitana and Junagadh Committees have 
been formed to supervise the disbursement of these monies. 

There is a desire among certain laymen to lessen the 
prominence given to idol-worship. Two well-known men 
ventured to publish something on this subject about five 
years ago, but the result was a storm of opposition, which 
has not yet died down. 

Laymen are also rather eager to lessen the power of the 
sadhus in the Conference, because they are uneducated 
and reactionary. This too has led to quarrelling. 

Svetambara laymen are doing a good deal of useful work 
apart from the Conference. They issue four or five monthly 
papers, and one vernacular fortnightly, the Jain Sdsana, 
published at Benares. They also are doing what they can 
in the way of bringing out versions of their Scriptures, and 


revising and correcting them. Rich merchants provide 
the necessary funds. They depend a good deal on English 
and German scholars for the work of editing and translat 
ing these texts. 

6. The Sthanakavasis met first in Conference in 1906. 
The office of Conference is at Ajmere, and their paper is 
called Conference Prakdsh. The subjects discussed at the 
Conferences fall under the following heads, education 
(boarding schools, religious education for boys and girls, 
orphanages, a training college for teachers), libraries, 
publication of sacred texts and a proposed union of all 
Jains. Though idolatry is the subject on which this sect 
feels most keenly, it is never mentioned in Conference, 
because there are always members of the other sects present 
whom they do not wish to offend. Many feel also the need 
of dealing with caste, but they do not venture to raise the 
question. Certain other aspects of social reform are, 
however, eagerly pressed. A Jain history from the Sthan- 
akavasi point of view is being prepared. The Conference 
sends out itinerant preachers to acquaint the people with 
the decisions of Conference and to collect fourpence from 
every house towards the expenses of the annual gathering 
and the preaching scheme. 

Outside the Conference, small groups of Sthanakavasis 
are doing useful work. In many towns and large villages 
libraries are being founded. They are meant specially for 
Jain books, but secular works are also admitted. Local 
Jain societies establish hostels for Jain boys, and arrange 
for religious teaching to be given an hour before the ordi 
nary schools meet. A monthly paper, the Jain HitecM, 
is supported ; and another is being started. The objects 
sought by these papers are, to remove the superstitions and 
increase the knowledge of the people, and to insist on a 
higher standard of training for sadhus. 


7. But the more advanced men are by no means satis 
fied with what is being done in the Conferences belonging 
to the three sects. They feel that the three groups must 
become united, if the community is to survive, and that 
there is far greater need for reform and modernization 
than the average Jain realizes. The following quotations 
will show what these leaders think : 

Obviously our orthodox people are very anxious about our 
religion ; and could they grasp the situation, we should not be 
far from a satisfactory solution of the crucial problem of Jain 
progress. The failure of the orthodox is due to one cause. 
They are attempting the hopeless task of transforming the 
twentieth century into the days of Shri Mahaveer. They would 
forget the history of twenty-six centuries. By founding Path- 
ashalas of the primeval type, they would think of producing our 
Akalanks and Nikalanks. What is the result ? They hardly 
attract any intelligent boys to these antiquated seminaries and 
after years of arduous toiling, they find themselves as far from 
their ideal as ever before. The experience is discouraging not 
only to the orthodox but to every one who cherishes the sublime 
hope of vivifying Jain ideals. 

What is the remedy ? To my mind it consists in modernis 
ing the institutions where we have to train up typical Jain 
spirituality through the ages to come. That is not done by 
the absurd insertion of a few readers or book-keeping in the 
curriculum of our Pathashalas. The aim of these nurseries of 
Jain lives ought to be to associate the best in the discoveries of 
the West with the highest in the lore of the past. They should 
be Colleges in which the Jain boys would imbibe Jain principles 
in their best form and yet would become able to hold their own 
against the literary and scientific savants of the west. Such should 
be the place from which Jain types would be evolved types that 
shall not be at a disadvantage in any walk of life and shall yet 
live up to Jain ideals. That would be the Aligarh of the Jains. 1 

Like certain Muhammadan leaders whom we have men 
tioned above, 2 these men think it necessary to lay stress on 

1 Diganibar tern, Kartik, 1969, pp. 33-34- 2 P- 98. 


the spirit of Jainism, rather than on the literal observance 
of all the old rules. Here is an attempt to state what the 
spirit of Jainism is : 

Well, then, what is the Light left in our custody by Lord 
Mahavira? . . . Briefly characterised the Light teaches us 

(1) Spiritual independence which connotes individual freedom 
and unlimited responsibility. The soul depends upon none 
else for its progress, and none else is responsible for the degrada 
tion and distress which the soul may be affected with. . . . 

(2) It teaches us the essential universality of the Brotherhood 
of not only all men but of all that lives. The current of life in 
the lowest living organism is as sacred, subtle, sensitive, mighty 
and eternal as in Juliet, Cleopatra, Caesar, Alexander, Christ, 
Mahomet, and Lord Mahavira himself. This is the undying 
basis of our fraternity for all. 1 

This advanced group became organized in 1894 or 1895 
as the Jain Young Men s Association. It is now called 
the Bharata Jaina Mahamandala, or All-India Jain Associa 
tion. Its office is in Lucknow, and it is governed by its 
Officers and a Managing Committee. The chief officer is 
the General Secretary, but he is assisted by three Joint 
Secretaries, one from each of the three sects. The objects 
of the Association are : 

(a) The union and progress of the Jaina community. 

(b) The propagation of Jainism. 

The Association holds an anniversary, usually about 
Christmas. There are also provincial and local organiza 
tions affiliated to the main body. Special men are told off 
to do departmental work of several types, one of the most 
prominent being female education. The Association issues 
a monthly magazine in English, the Jain Gazette. 

1 Digambar Jain, Kartik, 1969,"??- 26-27. 


The Association has been peculiarly active during the 
last three years. The energy of Mr. J. L. Jaini, Barrister- 
at-Law, has proved of very great value to it in various 
directions. In 1910 the International Jain Literature 
Society was founded in London. All the leading Jains in 
Europe and all the chief European Jain scholars have be 
come members. They propose to edit and publish Jain 
literature. In 1911 the Rishabha Brahmacharya Asrama 
was founded at Meerut for the training of sadhus. The 
same year a branch of the Jain Literature Society was 
formed in India ; and the Central Jain Library was founded 
at Arrah in Behar, for the purpose of collecting books and 
manuscripts, and cataloguing Jain literature. The Library 
issues a monthly magazine in Hindi, which is named the 
Jaina Siddhanta Bhdskara, and is published in Calcutta. 
Finally, as these words are being written, August 24, 
1913, the Mahavlra Brotherhood is being founded in 
London, for the purpose of uniting Jains resident in Europe 
and helping them to live the Jain life. 

It may be well to notice that books in English are being 
published by Jains to introduce Jainism to Europeans. 
Of these we may mention an Introduction to Jainism, by 
A. B. Latthe, 1 M.A., Jainism in Western Garb, as a Solution 
to Life s Great Problems? by Herbert Warren, an English 
man who has become a Jain, and a third volume by Mr. 
J. L. Jaini, which is about to be issued by the Jain Literary 

Modern Indian religious movements find very close 
parallels among the Buddhists of Burma and Ceylon; 
but my knowledge of the religion and of the local condi 
tions is too scanty to enable me to sketch the religious 
situation in those lands with accuracy. 

1 Bombay, Natha Rangaji, 1905. Madras, Thompson & Co, 1912, is. 



i. Nanak (1469-1538), the founder of the Sikh sect, was 
a disciple of the famous . teacher Kabir. Except in two 
matters, his system is practically identical with that of 
many other Vaishnava sects. It is a theism, and the main 
teaching of the founder is highly spiritual in character. 
Yet the whole Hindu pantheon is retained. The doctrine 
of transmigration and karma and the Indian social system 
remain unaltered. The guru holds the great place which 
he has in all the later Vaishnava and Saiva systems. He is 
not only a teacher but a saviour, and receives worship. 
The two points on which Kabir and Nanak were unlike 
earlier teachers were these : they condemned the whole 
doctrine of divine incarnations ; and they never ceased to 
protest against idolatry, thus preventing their followers 
from using Hindu temples. On one other point the two 
men seem to have been agreed: they did not wish their 
followers to become ascetics, but advised them to go on 
with their ordinary avocations. 

Since the guru held such a great place in Nanak s teaching, 
it was necessary to appoint another man to succeed him at 
his death. Nine gurus were thus appointed, one after the 
other ; and the series would have gone on indefinitely, had 
it not been for a momentous change introduced by the tenth 
guru. Nanak had left behind him a liturgy for the sect 
called the Japji, and also a considerable body of religious 
poetry. In this matter he was like many of the teachers of 
North India who lived before him. These poems were 
carefully treasured by the Sikhs ; the second guru invented 
the PanjabI alphabet, called Gurumukhl, as the script for 
them; and the fifth guru gathered them together and 
made a book of them, including also a large number of 
pieces from Kabir and fifteen other saints. This volume 


is called the Adi Granth, or " Original Book." The tenth 
guru added a great deal of fresh material ; and the result is 
the Granth Sahib, or Noble Book of the Sikhs. Before he 
died, this guru told the Sikhs that they must not appoint 
another guru, but must take the Granth for their guru. 
Since that time this sacred book has been the centre and the 
inspiration of the sect. 

But Govind Singh, the tenth guru, introduced another 
change of still greater importance. At the time when he 
was Sikh leader, at the end of the seventeenth and the 
beginning of the eighteenth century, Aurangzeb, the last 
great Mughal Emperor, was pressing the sect very hard. 
He did all in his power, by means of persecution and admin 
istrative pressure, to turn them into Muslims. Govind 
Singh had the genius to perceive how the Sikhs could be 
organized so as to be able to resist the Mughals. He 
formed all those who were willing to enter into a covenant 
with him into what he called the Khalsa. The ceremony of 
initiation, Khanda-di-Pdhul, Baptism of the Sword, gave 
it a religious character. Within this league Caste disap 
peared, and each man became a warrior, vowed to fight 
for his faith to the death, and to regard every other member 
of the league as a brother. They called themselves "Lions," 
each adding the word Singh to his name. The result was 
an army of heroes as unconquerable as Cromwell s Iron 
sides. Certain definite customs were laid upon them, 
which marked them off from other men, and increased the 
feeling of brotherhood among them. Infanticide, widow- 
burning and pilgrimage were prohibited. Wine and tobacco 
were proscribed. The consequences were two. The 
Khalsa became strong to resist the Mughals, but their 
organization cut them off from their fellow-countrymen, 
and made them practically a new caste. 

The transformation of the Church into an army produced 


another evil result; living preaching ceased among the 
Sikhs, and their religious life began to go down. Hin 
duism began to reappear among them. Though their 
founder had condemned the doctrine of incarnations, they 
soon came to regard each of their ten gurus as an incarna 
tion of the Supreme ; and, in spite of his advice, orders of 
ascetics began to appear among them. 

The recognition of the Granth Sahib as the guru of the 
community has also proved unhealthy. The book is wor 
shipped like an idol in the Golden Temple at Amritsar: 
a priest fans it, while the people throw offerings of flowers 
to it, and bow down before it. At night it is put to bed, 
to be waked in the morning for another day of worship. 
In a Sikh monastery in Conjeeveram, I was shown the altar 
where fire-sacrifice is regularly performed to the Granth. 
Nor is the rule against pilgrimage kept. Here and there 
one meets groups of Sikh ascetics on pilgrimage, visiting 
all the chief Hindu temples. When asked how they, as 
Sikhs, opposed to all idolatry, go to idolatrous temples, 
they answer that they go to look at the idols, not to worship 
them. This is surely as clear a case of the fascination of 
idols as one could wish to have. 

After the fall of the Mughal Empire, the Sikhs became 
organized in two small democratic republics, called Taran 
Dal and Budha Dal. Then these subdivided into twelve 
missils, or petty states. Finally, Ranjit Singh united 
them all, and became the king of the Pan jab. He ruled 
from 1800 to 1839. To their religious memories and 
warlike pride there was thus added the consciousness of 

2. Ranjit Singh had been statesman enough to keep 
the peace with the British, who already held all the terri 
tory to the east of the Panjab ; but he was not long dead 
before the Sikh leaders, in the pride of their old military 


prowess, began to make raids on British territory. This 
the British would not endure. War followed in 1845, an d 
the Sikhs were defeated ; but even that was not sufficient. 
They would not keep the peace. Hence a second war, 
in 1848-1849, resulted in the annexation of the Panjab to 
British India. 

The province was singularly fortunate in the British 
officers sent to administer it. John Lawrence, Eadwardes, 
Nicholson, Montgomery, Reynell Taylor were men of 
striking character, of great capacity and of Christian life. 
Hence the Panjab remained quite loyal throughout the 
Mutiny in 1857-1858 ; and the Sikhs have been one of the 
stoutest and most valuable elements in the Indian army 
ever since the annexation of the province. 

3. Fresh religious influences came in with the empire. 
Christian missionaries entered the province in 1849, an d 
since then have spread all over it; the Brahma Samaj 
appeared in Lahore in 1863 ; the Arya Samaj began its 
aggressive and stormy career in 1877 ; and since 1898 the 
atheistic Deva Samaj has made its influence felt not only 
in Lahore city but in some of the country districts. 

4. The Sikh community, for various reasons, has tended 
to become weak and impoverished. The following para 
graphs are from their own paper : 

They are poorer than their Hindu or Moslem brothers. 
They borrow money from the village Sahukars or money 
lenders, to carry on their agricultural occupation, under very 
hard and exacting terms. All grain in excess of their bare neces 
sities is snatched from them by some device or another. A 
person who has to be anxious for his livelihood cannot aspire to 
be wealthy goes the Punjabi saying. Sikh peasantry could, 
therefore, hardly support their children for higher education. 
There are very few Sikh merchants and traders, and Sikh bank 
ing and trading companies hardly exist. This general state of 
poverty prevailing among them is the greatest hindrance in their 


way to progress and prosperity. Calamities, such as famine, 
locusts, plague, war, etc., have added to their burdens and anxi 
eties and rendered the condition of the Sikhs indescribably 

We have often been drawing the attention of our leaders to 
the comparatively backward state of education, and daily de 
creasing number of the Sikh young men who receive instruction 
in the public and private schools of the Punjab. 

With the decline of spiritual religion among them, 
there has come to them what has come to every other re 
formed Hindu sect, an overpowering tendency to drift 
back into ordinary Hinduism. Hatred of Muhammadans 
is traditional amongst them, and quite strong enough to 
influence conduct. The Hindu community is big and in 
fluential ; and Hindu worship is showy and attractive, and 
appeals to the feelings, while Sikh worship is exceedingly 
simple. There are only four places of worship of any 
size belonging to the sect in the whole of the Panjab. For a 
long time very little was done to strengthen the Sikhs in 
their religion. The chiefs tended to become cold. The 
Gydms, or learned men, who knew the Granth and inter 
preted it, had lost a great deal of their fervour and learning. 
The drift towards Hinduism thus became almost irresist 
ible. Idols found their way not only into the homes of the 
people but into the Sikh temples. Caste crept back, and 
all the evils of Hindu social life. Education was not in 
creasing among them. 

5. But the new forces set in motion by the British Govern 
ment, Christian Missions and the Samajes at last began to 
tell upon the Sikhs. Above all, the provocative attacks of 
Dayananda and the Arya Samaj stirred them to fury. 
About 1890 a body of reformers arose amongst them, and 
summoned their leaders to action for the revival of Sikhism 
and the uplifting of the community. A college for Sikhs 


called the Khalsa College was founded at Amritsar. A 
central association called the Chief Khalsa Dlwan, with its 
office at Amritsar, was created; and local associations, 
called Singh Sabhas, were formed all over the country for 
the strengthening and purification of Sikh life. An agita 
tion was started in favour of the extension of education 
and of social reform. 

Considerable results have already arisen from this 
reforming policy. A weekly paper in English, the Khalsa 
Advocate was started in 1903, and still continues to express 
the views of the progressives. In 1869 the Government 
of India commissioned a ^German missionary, Dr. Ernest 
Trumpp, to translate the Adi Granth into English, in order 
that they might understand their Sikh subjects better; 
and the volume was published in 1877. Trumpp found 
the work exceedingly difficult for various reasons, and 
acknowledged that his translation must be imperfect in 
many particulars. When Western education spread among 
the Sikhs, they became very dissatisfied with his work; 
and in 1893 they asked Mr. A. M. Macauliffe, a member of 
of the Indian Civil Service, to make a new translation for 
them. Mr. Macauliffe, who was deeply impressed with 
the value of the Sikh religion, agreed to do so. He worked 
in the closest possible collaboration with the Sikh Gyanis, 
and published his work in six volumes in 1910. 

By 1905 the reforming spirit had gone so far that the 
Sikh leaders found it possible to cast out the Hindu idols 
which had found their way into the central place of Sikh 
worship, the Golden Temple at Amritsar. By word and 
action they have shewn that they wish to revive the spirit 
of their military organizer, the tenth guru. They want to 
reincarnate the courage, the freedom and the independence 
of these days. They wish to be truly Sikhs. They realize 
that they must resist Hinduism as well as the Arya Samaj, 


if they are to escape from caste and the other social evils 
of the Hindu system. 

The chief lines of reform which are being pressed by 
the leaders are the same as those advocated by Hindu 
social reformers. They protest against caste and child- 
marriage ; they plead that widows ought to be allowed to 
remarry, if they choose to do so : they agitate against 
expensive weddings; they plead for temperance; and a 
good deal of progress has been made. They have a Widows 
Home with thirty inmates at Amritsar ; also Orphanages ; 
and attempts are made to help the Depressed Classes. 

It is in education that the Sikhs have made most 
progress. The Khalsa College in Amritsar is under a Euro 
pean Principal and is carefully governed by a representa 
tive Committee. It has done good service to the com 
munity. The latest available report, that for 1911-1912, 
gives the number of students as 159. Everything seems 
satisfactory except the religious instruction. There is a 
large hostel in connection with the college, and another 
in Lahore. In addition to the college, the community 
supports 46 boys schools, High, Middle and Primary. 

There is a large and very successful Boarding School for 
Girls at Ferozepore. It has 305 pupils, 273 of them 
boarders. There are 32 other girls schools. 

Two Theological Seminaries, one at Tarn Tarn and an 
other at Gujranwala, receive grants from the Chief Khalsa 

For many years Sikh educational institutions languished 
for lack of financial support. In 1908 the leaders started a 
Sikh Educational Conference, which meets annually, now 
in one town, now in another. It reviews the educational 
situation, suggests improvements, and keeps Government 
informed of its wishes ; but the chief service it renders to 
the community is the raising of funds. About Rs. 15,000 


are now handed to the Chief Khalsa Dlwan every year to 
be divided amongst their educational institutions. 

The Chief Khalsa Dlwan also publishes a fair amount of 
literature, mainly in Panjabi, but partly in English, setting 
forth the lives of the gurus and the Sikh faith in its early 
purity. It has a Tract Society with a depot for the 
sale of this literature in Amritsar, and another in Lahore. 
There is a Sikh Bank. There is a Young Men s Sikh 
Association in Lahore and a Khalsa Young Men s Associa 
tion in Amritsar, imitations of the Y. M. C. A. ; and a 
young men s paper, The Khalsa Young Men s Magazine, is 
published. Finally the Chief Khalsa Dlwan has some 
twelve or fifteen missionaries in the Punjab, and about as 
many more in other parts of India, who preach to Sikhs 
and others. 

Fresh life is stirring in the Sikh community, and the 
activities we have detailed all tend towards progress. Yet 
a very great deal remains to be done. The chief question 
of all is, Can the Sikh faith be made a living and inspiring 
force in the circumstances of modern India or not ? 

LITERATURE. The Adi Granth, by Dr. Ernest Trumpp, Lon 
don, Triibner, 1877, 635. The Sikh Religion, a translation of the 
Granth, with lives of the Gurus, by M. A. Macauliffe, Oxford Uni 
versity Press, 1912, 63$. net. Sri Guru Nanak Dev, by Sewaram 
Singh Thapar, Rawalpindi, Commercial Union Press, 1904, Re. 
i as. 4. Sikhism, A Universal Religion, by Rup Singh, Amritsar, 
Coronation Printing Works. Bhai Mahnga or the Search after Truth, 
Amritsar, The Chief Khalsa Diwan, 1911. 


i. There were certain parts of the programme of the 
R^mmnjdJIa^^ 1 and of the teaching of 

Mr. K. R. Cama 2 which many Parsees thought rather 

1 See above, p. 84. 2 See above, p. 85. 


dangerous. They were afraid that the removal of certain 
parts of the traditional system as superstitions, the laying 
of extreme emphasis on the Gathas and on the moral ele 
ments of Zoroastrianism, and the proposal to pray in 
Gujaratl instead of in the ancient sacred language of the 
Avesta, would weaken the religion itself and shatter the 
faith of the masses. 

One of the leaders of this party in early days was Mr. 
Hormusji Cama (a member of the same family to which 
Mr. K. R. Cama belonged), who in Europe in the sixties 
came into contact with the best Zoroastrian scholars and 
published, at his own expense for gratuitous distribution, 
Professor Bleeck s English rendering of Professor Spiegel s 
German translation of the Avesta. A society, the Rahe 
Rust, or True Way, was organized to oppose the reformers ; 
and a journal, the Suryodaya, or Sunrise, carried on vigorous 
controversy with the Rast Goftar l on all the chief points of 
dispute. Mr. Hormusji Cama was the conservative pro 
tagonist in this long-continued fight. 

2. When the Theosophical Society transferred its head 
quarters to India in 1879^ a number of this type of Parsees 
joined it, and in the course of years the new system got a 
firm hold. The Theosophic policy in Zoroastrianism was 
the same as in Hinduism, full defence of the whole 
religion. The crudest and most superstitious observances 
were allegorically explained as expressions of the highest 
spiritual wisdom : 

They preach to the less educated classes of people that there 
is high efficacy in offering flowers and milk and cocoanuts to 
the waters ; they preach to the people as an act of special reli 
gious merit to fall prostrate before and kiss imaginary pictures 
of their prophet ; they exhort people to make a show of penitence 
by a vigorous slapping of cheeks. They represent to the people 

1 See above, p. 84. 2 See above, p. 226. 


that the sole efficacy of their prayers consist in the material 
form resultant upon the physical vibrations created by their 
utterances. 1 

As in Hinduism, so here, the mounting spirit of national 
ism and community-feeling coalesced with the impulse to 
defend the whole of the traditional faith ; and there arose 
the cry: "Everything Zoroastrian is good; everything 
Western is bad; we must defend ourselves against the 
pestilential materialism of Europe." Behind this bulwark 
of patriotic communal feeling all the conservative elements 
of the Parsee race ranged themselves; and the tide of 
nationalism swept for a time the mass of the young edu 
cated men into the party, and carried away even a few of 
the older members of the reforming group. 

Gradually this party began to pose as the expounders of 
orthodox Zoroastrianism. The original message of the 
prophet, they asserted, was identical with the Ancient 
Wisdom, and included pantheism, the practice of yoga, 
and the doctrine of reincarnation and karma. They 
flouted the scientific methods of exegesis pursued by 
scholarly Parsees, and endeavoured to defend superstitious 
and even idolatrous practices in the light of Theosophy. 
They stood by Mrs. Besant when she brought Mr. Lead- 
beater back into the Theosophical Society in January igog. 2 
A clear expression of the position of this group of Parsees 
will be found in The Message of Zoroaster, by A. S. N. Wadia, 
published by Dent. 

It was this group that caused the violent scenes that 
marred the first and second Zoroastrian Conferences. 3 
After that Conference, they separated themselves from the 
reformers; and, in consequence, the Parsee community 
has been rent into two parties. 

1 Journal of the Iranian Association, March, 1913, p. 247. 

2 See above, p. 273. 3 See above, p. 89. 


This conservative group works mostly through the 
Zoroastrian Association, an old organization which has 
fallen into their hands. They are toiling eagerly for the 
amelioration of the community. They are doing good work 
by erecting houses for the poorer classes ; and they have 
started a Census to discover how much poverty there is 
in the community. The paper which represents their 
position is The Jami Jamshed. 

3. A Zoroastrian propaganda has arisen in America. 
The name used for the system is Mazdaznan. The founder, 
who calls himself His Humbleness Zar-Adusht Hannish, is 
said to be a man of German and Russian parentage, whose 
real name is Otto Hannisch. He called himself a Persian, 
and said he had come from Tibet (like Madame Blavat- 
sky and M. Nicolai Notovitch), where he had penetrated 
the deepest secrets of the Dalai Lama. 1 His teaching is a 
mixture of Zoroastrian, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and 
Muslim elements. The side most emphasized in America 
seems to be the effect of breathing and other exercises on 
health. They celebrate the birth of Jesus on the 23rd of 
May. Mazdaznan Temples have been erected in a few 
places. In the Boston temple there is a brilliant representa 
tion of the sun. Perhaps the following may serve as a 
sample of Mazdaznan teaching : 

As an introductory step Mazdaznan offers the formula of 
"Assurance, or Ahura s Prayer," which when uttered on the 
breath, assures oxygenation and purification of the blood, 
increased circulation and rhythmic heart action. 


Our Father who art in Peace, 
Intoned be Thy name ; 
Thy realm arise ; 

1 P. 27, above. 


Thy will incarnate upon the earth as in heaven. 

This day impart Thy Word 

And remember not our offenses 

That we may forgive those who offend us. 

Thru temptation guide us 

And from error deliver us. Be it so. 

The movement seems to have a few adherents in India. 


The rise of the spirit which finds expression in the Hindu 
movements we have dealt with above led to similar activity 
among Muhammadans. Many observers agree in saying 
that most educated Muslims are turning away from the 
rationalism of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan 1 to orthodoxy. 

i. In 1885 there was founded in the city of Lahore the 
Anjuman-i-Himayet-i-Islam, i.e. the Society for the De 
fence of Islam; and since that date branch associations 
have been formed in many towns throughout India. The 
objects of the Association are set forth as follows in a 
prospectus of the society : 

I. (a) Rationally and intelligently to answer, through verbal 
discussion or in writing, any accusations advanced 
against Islam, and to further its propagation. 

(b) To impart suitable and necessary education to Muslim 

boys and girls, and save them from abjuring their 
own true faith. 

(c) To take upon itself the maintenance and education, to the 

best of its ability, of Muhammadan orphans, and to 
render all possible educational aid to poor Muslim 
boys and girls, so as to save them from falling into 
the hands of the followers of other religions. 

1 P. 99, above. 


(d) To improve the social, moral and intellectual condition 

of the Muslim community and initiate measures con 
ducive to the creation and preservation of friendly 
feelings and concord between the different sects of 

(e) To bring home to the Muhammadans the advantages of 

loyalty to the British Government. 

II. For the realisation of its objects, the Anjuman shall appoint 
preachers, issue a monthly magazine, establish educa 
tional institutions and orphanages, and make use of other 
necessary means. 

Several accounts of the working of the parent Association 
in Lahore have been placed in my hands, which give informa 
tion about its educational activities. The purpose, clearly, 
is to give Muslims a good modern education, and, along 
with it, religious instruction of a more orthodox type than 
is given in Aligarh institutions. They are eager to increase 
female education, and have nine girls schools in Lahore. 
They have two very large boys schools in the same city, 
and also an Arts College, called the Islamia College, with 
200 pupils on the rolls and a European Principal. Islamic 
Theology is taught daily in each of the classes. Attached 
to the College is the Rivaz Hostel with 131 boarders. There 
is then the Hamidia School with 27 pupils, an academy 
for advanced Arabic scholarship. They have also an 
Orphanage in the city in which some simple industrial 
training is given. Of the educational efforts of the 
associations in other towns I have failed to get reports. 

Nor have my Muslim correspondents told me anything 
about the other activities of the Anjuman. I am therefore 
driven to give here the experience of missionaries : 

The methods of defence adopted by this great organisation 
have been, in brief, the establishment of Muhammadan vernac 
ular and Anglo-vernacular schools for the education of Muslim 


youth, the publication of a literature, books, tracts and news 
papers, for the refutation of anti-Muslim publications as well as 
for the commendation and propagation of the religion of Islam. 
In addition to this a Muslim propaganda has been organized, 
especially to withstand and hinder the work of missions. Even 
Zenana teachers are supported, whose first duty is to break up, 
if possible, the missionary Zenana and Girls Schools. Pressure 
is brought to bear upon Muslim parents and families to exclude 
the Christian ladies and workers. Moreover, preachers are 
supported and sent here and there to preach against the Chris 
tian religion and to use every effort to bring back to the Muslim 
fold any who have been converted to Christianity. Christian 
perverts are sent out as the chosen agents of this propaganda. 
The results of the labours of the Anjuman-i-Himayat-ul- 
Islam are apparent in a revival of interest among Muslims in 
their own religion. The Mosques have been repaired and 
efforts have not been fruitless in securing a better attendance. 
The boycott inaugurated against missionary work has reduced 
the attendance of Muslims at the chapels and schools, and has no 
doubt closed many doors once open to Christian teaching. 1 

Clearly this organization is a Muslim parallel to the Bharata 
Dharma Mahamandala, though it has not gained so much 

2. In recent years the chief efforts made by Muslims in 
defence of their religion have had as their object the pro 
duction of preachers, teachers and missionaries of a more 
modern type. They wish them to be cultured men, fit to 
lead and teach those who have had an English education ; 
and they wish them to be well-trained theologians, able to 
defend Islam against Christian, Arya and Hindu criticism, 
and to carry the war into the enemy s territory. 

In 1894 a Defence Association was formed, the Nadwat- 
ul-Ulama, or Society of Muslim Theologians, which has 
its central office in Lucknow. The principal objects of the 
Association are stated as follows : 

1 Madras Decennial Miss. Conf. Rep., 334. 


(1) The advancement and reform of education in Arabic 

(2) The suppression of religious quarrels. 

(3) Social reform. 

(4) The pursuit of the general welfare of Mussulmans and 
the spread of Islam. 

The methods which this society employ for the defence 
and strengthening of Islam are five : 

(1) Most of their money and activity has been spent in 
founding and maintaining in Lucknow a divinity school of 
a new type meant to provide a more enlightened education 
for the Muhammadan clergy. It is called the Dar-ul-ulum 
(i.e. School of Theology) of the Nadwat-ul-Ulama and 
dates from 1898. They wish to establish such institutions 
elsewhere. A branch has already been opened at Shahja- 
hanpur, and another in Madras. The young men undergo 
a very serious training, lasting at least eight years, in all 
branches of Muhammadan theology ; and in addition they 
are taught English, Geography and Mathematics. They 
receive no training in Christianity or Hinduism. The 
curriculum as a whole is a great advance on the old educa 
tion. There are about 100 students at present ; but much 
larger numbers are expected in future. A great building 
is being erected for the Seminary on the north bank of 
the Goomti River. 

(2) Missionaries are sent out to preach. 

(3) An Urdu monthly magazine, En Nadwa, is published, 
in which attempts are made to reconcile Muslim thought 
with modern science and thought. 

(4) There is an orphanage in Cawnpore. 

(5) An Annual Conference is held. 

Under another society a theological seminary, the 
Madrasa-i-Ildhiydt, has been organized in Cawnpore. I 
understand it owes its existence mainly to a desire to 


repel the attacks of the Arya Samaj, several Muslims, 
including one Moulvie at least, having gone over to Hin 
duism under Arya influence. The aims of the institution 
are two : 

a. To protect Islam from external attacks. 

b. To send missionaries to preach Islam among Non- 
Muslims, and ignorant Muslims. 

Six subjects are taught, the Koran, Islamic theology and 
philosophy, the defence of Islam, Christianity, Western 
science, and Sanskrit. There are seven students at present. 
None of them know English ; but I was told that some of 
the missionaries already sent out do know English. A 
printing press is attached to the school ; and a series of 
tracts has already been published against the Arya Samaj. 

A third seminary recently founded is the Anjuman-i- 
Naumania, which is carried on in the Shahi Mosque, Lahore. 
The Secretary writes, "Ours is a purely religious school 
teaching Arabic literature and sciences through the medium 
of our vernacular." From another source I learn that the 
institution receives considerable financial help from Mus 
lims who have had a university education. 

Fourthly, a learned Muhammadan, named Hakim Ajmal 
Haziq-ul-Mulk, who is a doctor and resides in Delhi, has 
the idea of combining Orthodox Muhammadanism with 
Western culture. He has already trained four graduates of 
Aligarh as Moulvies. 

The most important and most orthodox of all Muslim 
seminaries in India is the Dar-ul-ulum, or School of Theol 
ogy, at Deoband, near Saharanpur. It has about 500 
students. All Muslims acknowledge that it is very old- 
fashioned. Yet even here the pressure of modern times 
is being felt: an English class has recently been opened, 
and attempts are being made to reform the divinity course 
in several directions. 


In Jubbulpore there is a little group of Muslims who have 
had an English education and are very eager to defend 
their religion. They told me that they had already started 
a High School in the town, the purpose of which is to pre 
serve and to spread Muhammadanism. They have also 
opened a little school on the same lines as the seminary in 
Lucknow. It is as yet but a little venture ; but they hope 
to raise the standard and train young men to know the 
Koran thoroughly, and also to deal with men of other reli 

An All-India Muslim Students Brotherhood with its 
headquarters at Aligarh has just been formed. 

Finally, there is a Muhammadan Book and Tract Depot 
in Lahore, where a large variety of volumes, both in Urdu 
and English, are offered for sale. Any English work which 
can be used apologetically, e.g. Carlyle s Hero as Prophet, is 
published and sold cheap. 

3. The movements already dealt with are all among 
Sunnis ; but the Shiahs are also active. They hold an annual 
Conference 1 which is meant mainly to rouse their commu 
nity on the subject of education and to find money for its 
extension. I am told also that there is at present a great 
upward movement of the Feringhi Mahal School. Their 
work is mostly literary. They translate English works 
into Urdu. They are approaching far more than formerly 
the philosophy of the West. 


The most successful of the educational efforts yet made 
for the defence and strengthening of Hinduism has been the 
Central Hindu College, Benares, founded by Hindus under 
the leadership of Mrs. Besant and the Theosophical Society. 

i ISR., XX, 234. 


It is strong, efficient, successful, and it actually teaches 
Hinduism. Hence a desire has arisen to take the further 
forward step of creating a Hindu University which should 
arrange curricula, hold examinations and confer degrees. 
In this way, not the actual work of teaching only, but the 
aims of education, the subjects taught and the standards 
demanded would be under Hindu control. Naturally the 
Muhammadan community at once followed suit and pro 
posed a Muslim University. Both parties began the collec 
tion of funds. 

These proposals are so contrary to the spirit of University 
culture and so likely to stand in the way of every movement 
for the increasing of friendliness and harmony amongst the 
various religious communities of India that it seems certain 
that the Government of India would have vetoed them 
absolutely, had there not been something (all unknown to 
the public) to hinder their action. They have, however, 
definitely decided that, if such Universities are set up, they 
shall be local teaching Universities, and not territorial 
organizations like the existing Universities. This obviates 
the most serious dangers. Meantime Mrs. Besant has 
fallen from her high place in Benares ; 1 and the proposals 
for the present seem to hang fire. 

1 P. 276, above. 

2 A 



IN this last section of our period a frightful portent flamed 
up in India, anarchism and murder inspired by religion. 
But, fortunately, there seems to be good reason for believ 
ing that the outbreak of violence will prove a lurid episode 
in a time of great and better things. Facts seem to justify 
our marking off these years sharply from the preceding; 
for new ideals and passions which are visible in their best 
literature and noblest activity as well as in anarchism dis 
tinguish it clearly from earlier times. Yet there is a certain 
continuity : the new spirit is a further stage of the move 
ment which began a century ago, a further unfolding of 
what has been latent in the Awakening from the beginning. 
The notes of what we tentatively call Religious Nationalism 
seem to be as follows : 

A. Independence. A distinct advance in thought and 
action made itself manifest about 1870. Young India 
began to think of political influence and to defend the 
ancient religious heritage. Yet there was a sort of half- 
dependence on the ideals and the thought of others, which 
gives the time an appearance of unripeness. In this new 
era we have the assertion of the full independence of the 
Indian mind. The educated Indian now regards himself 
as a full-grown man, the equal in every respect of the cul 
tured European, not to be set aside as an Asiatic, or as a 
member of a dark race. He claims the right of thinking 
his own thoughts ; and he is quite prepared to burn what 



he has hitherto adored and to create a new heaven and a 
new earth. This adult self-confidence was immeasurably 
strengthened by the victory of Japan over Russia. Every 
Asiatic felt himself recreated by that great event. To all 
Asiatic lands it was a crisis in race-history, the moment 
when the age-old flood of European aggression was turned 
back. The exultation which every Indian felt over the 
victory lifted the national spirit to its height and gave a 
new note of strength to the period. 

B. A new nationalism. The patriotism of to-day makes *> 
the feeling which inspired the Congress seem a very blood- (, 
less thing indeed. Men now live at fever-heat, carried , 
beyond themselves by a new overmastering devotion to the 
good of India. But there is clear sight as well as passion. 
The new nationalism is much more serious and open-eyed 
than the thin old politicalism. It is burdened, tortured, 
driven forward by the conviction that the whole national 
life needs to be reinspired and reborn. Full proof of the 
depths to which the Indian mind has been stirred may be 
seen in this, that in all the best minds the new feeling and 
the fresh thought are fired by religion, either a furious 
devotion to some divinity of hate and blood, or a self -con 
secration to God and India which promises to bear good fruit. 
Finally, whether in anarchists or in men of peace, the new 
nationalism is willing to serve and suffer. The deluded 
boys who believed they could bring in India s millennium by 
murdering a few white men were quite prepared to give 
their lives for their country ; and the healthy movements 
which incarnate the new spirit at its best spend themselves 
in unselfish service. 


Before we attempt to describe the murderous propaganda 
we had better endeavour to realize what curdled to such 


bitterness the spirit of many of the most generous young 
Indians of our days. What were the causes of the sudden 
storm of furious hate ? 

1. The fact that India is under a foreign government. The 
first thought of the man filled with the new spirit is that 
this is utterly wrong, something which simply ought not to 
be. India ought to be guided by her own ideals and ruled 
by her own men. Her present rulers loom up as tyrannical 
aggressors, thieves of the nation s rights, ruthless destroyers 
of her priceless ancient heritage. 

2. The race-hatred and race-contempt of Europeans. lam 
not one of those who believe that the Englishman behaves 
worse in his imperial position than other nationalities would 
do, if they were in his place. Indeed, I am inclined to 
think that, in comparison with others, he stands fairly high. 

I Yet the fact remains that there is a percentage of Europeans 
iin India soldiers, mechanics, shop assistants, business 
men, with a sprinkling even of professional men, army 
officers, and civilians who continually shew contempt 
and hatred for Indians and speak of them as an inferior race, 
and who from time to time assault Indian servants and 
subordinates, and treat educated Indians with the grossest 
rudeness. This behaviour of a small minority of our fellow- 
countrymen, which at all times has produced very serious 
results, necessarily stirred the fiercest passions, when 
national feeling and Indian self-respect rose to flood-tide. 
We must also frankly acknowledge that every piece of 
self-complacent, ill-informed, unsympathetic criticism of 
Indian religion, society and life, whether written by tourist, 
missionary or official, helped to inflame the sense of wrong 
and to embitter the resentment which the imperial position 
of Britain necessarily creates. 

3. Lord Curzon. Perhaps no man was ever so well pre 
pared for the viceroyalty as Lord Curzon was. Certainly 


no man ever toiled harder in the position, or worked more 
disinterestedly for the good of India. His insight and his 
unsparing labour are already producing their fruits in higher 
efficiency in education and many other departments of 
Indian life. Yet it was his tragic destiny to be more 
furiously detested by the educated Indian than any other 
Englishman. The cause lay in his self-confident and arro 
gant spirit and manner. Twenty years earlier they would 
have scarcely provoked comment; but, contemporaneous 
with the rise of the Indian mind to independence and na 
tional dignity and with the emergence of Asia from her 
secular slavery to Europe, they stung India to fury and 
worked wild ruin. 

4. The inner antagonism between Hindu and Western 
culture. When the modern Indian reached self-conscious 
ness and self-confidence, there could not fail to come a 
violent reaction from the attitude of reverence for the West 
which had guided his scholar-footsteps. Trained to think 
by his modern education, he could not fail to turn back to 
the ancient culture which lived in him and make the most 
of it. The period of training had been too repressive, too 
fully dominated by the West. The reaction was bound to 
come. Thus the old passionate devotion to Hinduism 
flared up and increased the passion of the anarchist ; and 
his perception of the inner antagonism between Hindu and 
Western culture-ideals at once justified and embittered his 

5. Exaggerated praise of India and condemnation of the 
West. This more than anything else was the cause of the 
ruinous folly which marked so much of the teaching and 
the action of the anarchists. Dayananda, the Theosophists, 
Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita and all that followed them 
talked in the wildest and most extravagant way in praise of 
Hinduism and Indian civilization and in condemnation of 


Christianity and the West; so that they actually led the 
average educated Hindu to believe the doctrine, that every 
thing Indian is pure, spiritual and lofty, and that every 
thing Western is materialistic, sensual, devilish. I do 
not believe that these leaders had any sinister political 
motive for this policy. Sir Valentine Chirol is inclined to 
go too far in this matter. What they did they did in the 
hope of making their followers devoted and enthusiastic 
Hindus, and of rousing them to toil for the benefit of India. 
But you cannot sow the wind without reaping the whirlwind. x 
If it be true that Hinduism and Indian civilization are purely 
spiritual and good, and that Christianity and Western 
civilization are grossly materialistic and corrupt, then the 
average Hindu was quite right in drawing the conclusion 
that the sooner India is rid of Europeans and Western influ 
ence the better : we are already on the very verge of the 
doctrine of the anarchists. These leaders are directly 
responsible for a great deal of the wildest teaching of the 
assassin press. It is not merely the general attitude that 
is common to the revivalists and the anarchists. It is as 
clear as noonday that the religious aspect of anarchism was 
merely an extension of that revival of Hinduism which is 
the work of Dayananda, Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and 
the Theosophists. Further, the historical is almost as close 
as the logical connection. Dayananda started the Anti- 
cow-killing agitation in I882. 1 The movement grew until, 
in 1888, it had reached colossal proportions; and in 1893 
Tilak made it one of his most potent tools. Krishnavarma 
was a pupil of Dayananda ; Lajpat Rai was for many years 
one of the chief leaders of the Arya Samaj ; and Vivek- 
ananda s brother Bhupendra was one of the most influ 
ential of the anarchist journalists of Calcutta. 
The history of Indian anarchism cannot be written yet. 
1 P. in, above. 


The most salient facts may be found in Sir Valentine 
Chirol s Indian Unrest ; l but every careful reader of that 
useful volume must feel very distinctly that there are many 
facts as yet unknown which are needed to make the growth 
of the movement intelligible. We mention here only the 
names of the leaders. 

So far as can be seen at present, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a 
member of the sept of Brahmans that led and governed the 
Marathas, formed the earliest centre of the propaganda 
known as anarchism. The Anti-cow-killing agitation 
already referred to was one of several experiments which he 
tried in seeking to rouse his people to energetic political 
action ; but in 1895 ne organized a great celebration of the 
birthday of Sivaji, the chieftain who, in the latter half of 
the seventeenth century, made the Maratha tribes an iron 
army and a united nation to resist the Muhammadans. 
This widespread commemoration of the Maratha leader in 
1895 i s significant, because in it for the first time all the 
features of the Extremist propaganda stand out clear; 
and there is unquestionable proof that it contained the 
poison of anarchy; for within two years it worked itself 
out in murder in the streets of Poona. For this reason we 
take 1895 as the date of the arrival of the new spirit in 
Indian history. 

Two other men can be discerned as generators of the 
anarchical spirit, alongside of Tilak, between 1900 and 1905. 
These are Syamaji Krishnavarma in London and Bipin 
Chandra Pal in Calcutta. The former, who had been a 
personal friend and pupil of Dayananda, lived in India 
House, London, edited the Indian Sociologist, and filled 
many a young Hindu student with the poison of hate and 
murder. Here perhaps was the chief centre of the cult of 
the bomb. Bipin Chandra Pal edited a journal, called 

1 London, Macmillan, 1910, 55. net. 



New India, the settled policy of which was to publish every 
tale that could be found and exaggerated to fill the Indian 
mind with the bitterest hatred and profoundest contempt 
for Europeans, and to urge Indians to train themselves 
physically to be able to fight those blackguards. 

The following paragraphs by the Rev. C^JF^Andrews of 
Deiy describe very faithfully the effect of the Russo- 
Japanese war upon India : 

At the close of the year 1904 it was clear to those who were 
watching the political horizon that great changes were impending 
in the East. Storm-clouds had been gathering thick and fast. 
The air was full of electricity. The war between Russia and 
Japan had kept the surrounding peoples on the tip-toe of expecta 
tion. A stir of excitement passed over the North of India. 
Even the remote villagers talked over the victories of Japan as 
they sat in their circles and passed round the hugga at night. 
One of the older men said to me, " There has been nothing like it 
since the Mutiny." A Turkish cousul of long experience in 
Western Asia told me that in the interior you could see every 
where the most ignorant peasants "tingling" with the news. 
Asia was moved from one end to the other, and the sleep of the 
centuries was finally broken. It was a time when it was "good 
to be alive," for a new chapter was being written in the book of 
the world s history. 

My own work at Delhi was at a singular point of vantage. 
It was a meeting-point of Hindus and Musalmans, where their 
opinions could be noted and recorded. The Aligarh movement 
among Muhammadans was close at hand, and I was in touch 
with it. I was also in sympathy with Hindu leaders of the 
modern school of Indian thought and shared many of their views. 
Each party spoke freely to me of their hopes and aims. The 
Musalmans, as one expected, regarded the reverses of Russia 
chiefly from the territorial standpoint. These reverses seemed 
to mark the limit of the expansion of the Christian nations over 
the world s surface. The Hindus regarded more the inner 
significance of the event. The old-time glory and greatness of 
Asia seemed destined to return. The material aggrandisement 


of the European races at the expense of the East seemed at last 
to be checked. The whole of Buddhaland from Ceylon to 
Japan might again become one in thought and life. Hinduism 
might once more bring forth its old treasures of spiritual culture 
for the benefit of mankind. Behind these dreams and visions 
was the one exulting hope that the days of servitude to the 
West were over and the day of independence had dawned. 
Much had gone before to prepare the way for such a dawn of 
hope : the Japanese victories made it, for the first time, shining 
and radiant. 1 

Now, in contrast with these glowing lights, let us place 
some of Lord Curzon s acts as they seemed at the time to 
educated Indians. He gave an address at Calcutta Uni 
versity Convocation in which he suggested to a listening 
nation that they were a nation of liars. He created and 
passed a Universities Act which was meant to introduce a 
number of much-needed reforms into the higher education ; 
yet, honestly or dishonestly, almost the whole native press 
interpreted it as meant to curtail Western education among 
Indians, and thereby to weaken their influence in the coun 
try. Then there came, in 1905, the Partition of Bengal. 
It is now perfectly clear that some serious change in the 
administration of the province was urgently required; 
and there seems to be no reason to doubt that Lord Curzon 
believed he was carrying out the best policy ; but he paid 
but little attention to Bengali feeling and opinion, and some 
of the speeches which he delivered in a tour through the 
province were provocative in the last degree. In any case, 
his action infuriated the educated classes of Bengal; the 
whole country was soon rocking in sympathy with them; 
and an unscrupulous propaganda roused the wildest passion, 
excited the students beyond measure and led to many 

It was these events that gave the Anarchist party their 

1 The Renaissance in India, 4-5. 


opportunity. Immediately a new type of journalism 
appeared in Calcutta. The chief writers were Aravinda 
Ghose, who had been educated in England, and had then 
spent some years in the service of the Gaekwar of Baroda, 
his brother Barendra, Bipin Chandra Pal and Bhupendra 
Nath Dutt, a brother of Svaml Vivekananda; while 
Tilak and his followers continued the campaign in the West, 
and Lala Lajpat Rai and some other Aryas did all they could 
to rouse the Panjab. A long series of murders and at 
tempted murders of Europeans and Indians was the direct 
result of this writing and of the secret plotting of men who 
>are not yet fully known. 

Perhaps the most amazing fact in the whole sad history is 
this, that the Moderate party, which until now had con 
trolled the National Congress and had led the educated 
community, were swept off their feet and dragged behind the 
Anarchists, almost without a word of protest, until the 
Congress met at Surat in 1907 ; when the two parties ac 
tually came to blows, and the gathering had to be broken 
up. This fact, and the terrible catalogue of murders which 
was steadily lengthening out, at last convinced the Mod 
erates that they must dissociate themselves from the 
teaching of the Anarchist party. Then the tide began to 
turn. Fewer of the high-strung, unselfish students fell 
into the toils of the men who planned the murders. In 
June, 1908, Tilak was arrested and sent to prison for six 
years for seditious writing. Lord Morley, who was Secre 
tary of State for India, and the Viceroy, Lord Minto, had 
the new Councils Act passed in 1909, which proved that 
Britain is really anxious to go forward and give educated 
India a gradually increasing share in the government of the 
Empire. The King s visit touched the hearts of the people 
I of India as nothing has done for many years ; and the re- 
\arrangement of the two Bengals helped to heal old wounds. 


The results have been priceless. There is now a clear per 
ception of the fact that Indians must cooperate with the 
British Government in order to bring in the better day for 
India. Things look distinctly promising. 1 
The following are the chief notes of Anarchist teaching : 

1. Indian civilization in all its branches, religion, 
education, art, industry, home life and government, is 
healthy, spiritual, beautiful and good. It has become cor 
rupted in the course of the centuries, but that is largely the 
result of the cruelty and aggression of the Muhammadans 
in former times and now of the British. The Indian patriot 
must toil to restore Indian life and civilization. 

2. Western civilization in all its parts, religion, educa 
tion, art, business and government, is gross, materialistic 
and therefore degrading to India. The patriotic Indian 
must recognize the grave danger lurking in every element 
of Western influence, must hate it, and must be on his 
guard against it. 

The inevitable result of this has been race-hatred such 
as has never been seen in India before. The Anarchist 
press was rilled with the uttermost hate and bitterness. 

3. India ought to be made truly Indian. There is no 
place for Europeans in the country. Indians can manage 
everything far better than Europeans can. The British 
Government, Missions, European trade and Western influ 
ence of every kind, are altogether unhealthy in India. 
Everything should belong to the Indians themselves. 

4. Hence it is a religious duty to get rid of the European 
and all the evils that attend him. The better a man under 
stands his religion, the more clear will be his perception that 
Europeans and European influence must be rooted out. 
All means for the attainment of this end are justifiable. As 

1 Since these words were put in type, the war has come, and Tilak and 
Lajpat Rai are loyally helping the Government. 


Krishna killed Kamsa, so the modern Indian must kill the 
European demons that are tyrannically holding India down. 
The blood-thirsty goddess Kail ought to be much honoured 
by the Indian patriot. Even the Glta was used to teach 
murder. Lies, deceit, murder, everything, it was argued, 
may be rightly used. How far the leaders really believed 
this teaching no man can say; but the younger men got 
filled with it, and many were only too sincere. 

5. The whole propaganda was marked by a complete 
disregard of historical truth. The most frightful distor 
tions of past events, and the foulest slanders both of the 
Government and of individual Europeans went the round of 
the press, and did their poisonous work. 

LITERATURE. The New Spirit, by Bepin Chandra Pal, Calcutta, 
Sinha, Sarvadhicari & Co., 1907, Rs. i as. 4. Life of AravindaGhosha, 
by Rama Chandra Palita, Calcutta, the author, 1911, Rs. i as. 8. 
Indian Unrest, by Sir Valentine Chirol, London, Macmillan, 1910, 
55. net. 

Anarchism flung itself against the British Government 
and fell back broken. The whole movement was a piti 
ful piece of waste, waste of energy, patriotic feeling, 
literary skill and human life. One cannot look back 
upon it without a very heavy heart, as one thinks of all the 
dignity and worth of the character and feeling which were 
perverted and flung away. But the same high love for 
India and will to be spent for her sake have found healthy 
channels for themselves along various lines. In all these 
movements the main notes of the period ring out very dis 
tinctly : the end in view in each case is the national ad 
vancement; the religious sanction is always in the back 
ground, even if it is not distinctly expressed ; the work is 
of the nature of unselfish service ; and high passion inspires 
the whole. We subdivide the movements into four groups, 
industrial, social, artistic and poetic. 



The Swadeshi Movement (svadett = belonging to one s 
own country), an agitation for the strengthening of Indian 
industries, arose in Bengal in Lord Curzon s viceroy alty 
under the stimulus of national excitement. Indians were 
urged to buy goods of Indian design and manufacture; 
articles and books were published, exhibiting the vast natu 
ral resources of India, the abundance of cheap labour avail 
able, and shewing how much India loses through importing 
what might quite well be made in the country. The 
movement was later contaminated by an organized Boycott 
of British goods, which was accompanied by much violence 
and social tyranny, disturbed business for a while, and em 
bittered relations between the races, but entirely failed to 
divert the natural course of trade. The legitimate move 
ment, however, has been distinctly useful. The educated 
classes began to think of economic questions, and every 
Indian industry was encouraged and quickened. Under 
the same impulse a society was formed in Calcutta for the 
purpose of sending young men to Europe, America or Japan 
to receive industrial or scientific education. When these 
students began to return from study, a supply of trained 
workers became available for the furthering of native in 
dustries. Between 1905 and 1907 a considerable number of 
new manufacturing and trading companies were formed in 
various parts of India, but above all in Bengal. Cotton, 
jute, leather, soap, glass and other manufactures were at 
tempted. There was at least one steam navigation com 
pany. Several Banks and Insurance Companies arose. 
All have not proved successful by any means from the 
business point of view ; indeed, in the end of 1913, a number 
of Indian banks collapsed ; but experience has been gained ; 
and in a number of cases considerable progress has been 


There has also been an increase in the number of students 
reading science, agriculture and economics at the Univer 
sities; and several Indians have written wisely and well 
on economic questions. 

a. Help for the Depressed Classes 

One sixth of the whole population of India, a vast mass 
of humanity outnumbering all the people of England, Scot 
land, Ireland and Wales, have for some two thousand years 
been held down by Hindus at the bottom of society, in 
indescribable ignorance, dirt and degradation, on the ground 
that they are so foul as to be unfit for ordinary human 
intercourse. According to the orthodox theory, every man 
born among these people is a soul which in former lives 
lived so viciously that his present degradation is the just 
punishment for his former sin. They are called Outcastes, 
Untouchables, Panchamas, or the Depressed Classes. 
What sort of a national danger this mass of crushed human 
ity is to India, every student of sociology and politics will 
readily realize. These people belong to many different 
races, and are found in every part of India, sometimes in 
small, sometimes in large groups. Their poverty is in most 
cases pitiable. Their religion consists in pacifying diabolic 
powers by means of animal sacrifice and various forms of 
barbaric ritual. 

More than a century ago Christian missionaries at 
tempted to win some of these groups for Christ; and at 
quite an early date they met with some success ; but it was 
not until the year 1880 that anything startling occurred. 
The years from 1876 to 1879 were marked by a frightful 
famine, which brought indescribable suffering and lament 
able loss of life in many parts of the South of India. Chris 
tians could not stand idly by in these circumstances : 


Hundreds of thousands of people were dying in the Tamil and 
Telugu countries. Government was doing what it could in 
face of the hopeless mass of misery. There were few railroads, 
and grain brought from other countries by sea rotted on the 
beach at Madras while people two hundred miles away starved 
for lack of it. At this crisis missionaries everywhere co-operated 
with Government in the work of relief, raising funds among their 
own supporters at home, carrying out earthworks, and so finding 
employment for many poor people, and doing all that pity and 
their close contact with the people enabled them to do to help the 
sufferers. 1 

The result was that to these poor down- trodden people 
the contrast between Hinduism which held them down, 
and Christianity which did all that it possibly could to save 
them, began to be dimly visible; and, after the famine 
was over, they came to the missionaries in thousands for 
baptism. Such movements have occurred in several dis 
tinct parts of India. When such a movement begins, it 
usually lasts for a number of years, and then dies down. 
Or, it may slacken and then increase again. 

Wherever it has been possible to give sufficient attention 
to this work, very remarkable results have been secured. 
When missionaries began to appeal to these people, Hindus 
jeered at them, saying they might as well attempt to uplift 
the monkeys of the forest. Certainly, at first sight, they 
are most unpromising material, physically, socially, men 
tally, morally. Yet the truth of Christ and loving Chris 
tian service have worked miracles. They have responded 
nobly, and great advances in physical well-being, in educa 
tion, in society and the family, and also in religion, have been 

One of the most remarkable features of the work is this, 
that Hindus and Muhammadans all over India at once give 
the baptized Outcaste a new standing. He is no longer 
1 The Outcastes Hope, 32-3. 


untouchable and beyond the pale, but is received as other 
Christians are. 

For many years the work went on without causing much 
comment from the Hindu side ; though, now and then, some 
educated man would refer to Christian success among these 
people either in scorn or in bitter anger. But, just about 
the time when the new nationalist spirit was spreading far 
and wide, fresh currents of thought began to shew them 
selves both among the Outcastes themselves and among 
educated men. 

Groups of these Outcastes who had not become Chris 
tians had begun to realize that the doctrine which for so 
long had justified their miserable condition was false, and 
that it was not held by missionaries or the British Govern 
ment. The hope that they might be able to throw off their 
chains began to rise in their hearts. These new stirrings 
appeared in different parts of India. First of all, came the 
Tiyas of Malabar, and, later, the Vokkaligas of Mysore. 
In the case of both these peoples the rising is so remarkable 
that we have dealt with them alongside of Caste movements. 1 
Another noticeable case is the rising of the Mahars of the 
Maratha country. They met in Conference at Poona in 
November, 1910, and drew up a Memorial to the Earl of 
Crewe, Secretary of State for India, begging that certain 
privileges which their fathers enjoyed in the Indian army 
should be restored to them. In this connection they speak 
of the many Mahars who fell wounded or died fighting 
bravely side by side with Europeans, and with Indians who 
were not Outcastes. But much more important than this 
claim of theirs is the spirit shown in the Memorial, and the 
statements they make to the Secretary for India. The 
following are a few sentences taken from it : 

1 Above, pp. 311 and 314. 


As British subjects we cannot, we should not submit to ordi 
nances which are entirely foreign to British ideas of public justice 
and public honour. We are sick of the bondage which the barbar 
ism of Hindu customs imposes upon us ; we long to enjoy the 
perfect freedom which the British nation and the British Gov 
ernment desire to offer impartially to all those who are con 
nected with them as British subjects. 

We would, therefore, earnestly appeal to the Imperial Gov 
ernment to move on our behalf. We have long submitted to the 
Jagannath of caste; we have for ages been crushed under its 
ponderous wheels. But we can now no longer submit to the 

Our Hindu rulers did not recognize our manhood, and treated 
us worse than their cattle; and shall not that nation which 
emancipated the Negro at infinite self-sacrifice, and enlightened 
and elevated the poorer people of its own commonwealth, 
condescend to give us a helping hand ? 

The kindly touch of the Christian religion elevates the Mahar 
at once and for ever, socially as well as politically, and shall not 
the magic power of British Law and British Justice produce the 
same effect upon us even as followers of our own ancestral faith ? 

A similar story may be told of the Namasudras of Bengal. 
They are amongst the very lowest classes of the country; 
yet we find them in Conference in April, 1910, seeking to 
plan for their own advancement, and stirring each other 
up to various items of social reform. 1 A few months later 
a still more interesting event took place in the Panjab : 

An incident which would appear to be queer, under existing 
conditions, is reported to the Hindustan from Jullundur. To 
the reflecting mind it appears to be but the beginning, feeble 
though it be, of a spirit of retaliation against the most inhuman 
and degrading treatment meted out by Hindus and Mussalmans 
alike to the depressed classes for centuries past. The sweepers 
of Jullundur have started a society called the Valmika Samdj 
to defend their interests. They do not think themselves to be 
in any way inferior to their Hindu or Mussalman compatriots. 
1 ISR., XX, 397. 



At the last Dussehra fair they opened a shop vending sweet 
meats for the benefit of members of their own community. The 
following is the translation on the board: "Let it be known 
to the High-born that Hindus and Mussalmans are prohibited to 
buy sweets here. Chuhras and all others are welcome." l 

Somewhere about 1903 the whole problem began to be 
discussed in the Indian press. Orthodox Hindus still con 
demned the missionary propaganda in violent terms, but 
far-sighted men gave utterance to other ideas. Here is 
what the Hon. Mr. G. K. Gokhale said at a public meeting 
in Dharwar in 1903 : 

I think all fair-minded persons will have to admit that it is 
absolutely monstrous that a class of human beings with bodies 
similar to our own, with brains that can think and with hearts 
that can feel, should be perpetually condemned to a low life of 
utter wretchedness, servitude and mental and moral degradation, 
and that permanent barriers should be placed in their way so 
that it should be impossible for them ever to overcome them and 
improve their lot. This is deeply revolting to our sense of jus 
tice. I believe one has only to put oneself mentally into their 
places to realize how grievous this injustice is. We may touch 
a cat, we may touch a dog, we may touch any other animal, but 
the touch of these human beings is pollution. And so complete 
is now the mental degradation of these people that they them 
selves see nothing in such treatment to resent, that they acquiesce 
in it as though nothing better than that was their due. More 
over, is it, I may ask, consistent with our own self-respect that 
these men should be kept out of our houses and shut out from all 
social intercourse as long as they remain within the pale of Hin 
duism, whereas the moment they put on a coat, and a hat and a 
pair of trousers and call themselves Christians we are prepared 
to shake hands with them and look upon them as quite 
respectable ? No sensible man will say that this is a satisfactory 
state of things. 2 

1 From the Punjabee. Reproduced in ISR., XXI, 98. 

2 Quoted in the Memorial of the Mahars. 


At a later date Mr. Gokhale s political instincts led him to 
give utterance to another wise word : 

The problem of the depressed classes really went to the root 
of their claim to be treated on terms of equality with other 
civilized communities of the world. They were all of them 
asking he might even use the word clamouring for equal 
treatment by other communities. He thought they were 
entitled to do that, and they would be unworthy of their man 
hood if they did not agitate for it. But they would deserve to 
have it only when they were prepared to extend the same treat 
ment to those who expected it at their hands. 1 

The ^v^Samaj was probably the first body that pro 
posed to outflank the missionary movement : 

-^^ W.- V- ~ -x.^ > -"""V_*-"X-- ">---" > - ~" < 

While the people of India increased in 1891-1901 at the rate 
of ij per cent, native Christians increased at the rate of over 
30 per cent. Just consider for a moment what Christian mission 
aries are accomplishing in India, though they come here from the 
remotest part of Europe. They beat even the Arya Samajists, 
in spite of their preaching the indigenous faith of the country. 
The reason is that the Arya Samajists have not yet learnt to 
work among the masses who form the backbone of India. It is 
high time for us to realize that the future of India lies not in the 
hands of the higher classes but of the low caste people, and if we 
devote the best part of our enegry in raising the status of the 
masses, we can make every Indian household resound with the 
chanting of Vedas at no distant date. But where are the men, 
where is the sacrifice ? 2 

Later, certain Hindus took up the same position; but 
others pointed out that the policy of raising the Outcaste 
is contrary to Hinduism and must certainly tend to break 
up the religion. The following is a sentence from the 

Mahratta : 3 

Now we know that the result of educating the depressed 
classes must be in the long run to weaken, if not utterly destroy 

1 ISR., XX, 88. 2 From the Arya Messenger. 3 November 7, 1909. 


Yet, in spite of many cries of danger, the conscience of 
India has been waked. Men realize that it is wrong to hold 
down the Outcaste. Then the new Nationalist conscious 
ness feels so distinctly the need of unifying the nation and of 
strengthening every element in the population that the prob 
lem of transforming these fifty millions of crushed Indians 
into vigorous citizens is felt to be one of the most pressing 
national problems. Hence the best men have turned to 

The Brahma Samaj and the Prarthana Samaj were the 
first bodies outside the Christian Church that gave any 
attention to the depressed classes ; but their work has never 
risen to such dimensions as to make it of great importance. 
The Prarthana Samaj in Mangalore has been working among 
these poor people since 1898, and the Brahmas have a 
little work going on in East Bengal. In 1906, however, 
things began to take a more practical turn. The Depressed 
Classes Mission Society of India was founded in Bombay 
that year. It shows clearly the influence of the most recent 
developments of the national spirit ; for the philanthropic 
aim of the work is largely sustained by national feeling; 
and people of any religion may take part in the work. As a 
matter of fact, however, the leaders throughout have be 
longed to the Prarthana Samaj, though they have received 
a great deal of support from Hindus. The following gives 
a sketch of the aims of the Society, its work and its finances : 

The object of the Society shall be to maintain a Mission which 
shall seek to elevate the social as well as the spiritual condition 
of the Depressed Classes viz. the Mahars, Chambhars, Pariahs, 
Namsudras, Dheds, and all other classes treated as untouchable 
in India, by 

(1) Promo ting education, 

(2) Providing work, 

(3) Remedying their social disabilities, 


(4) Preaching to them principles of Liberal Religion, per 
sonal character and good citizenship. 

Work of the Society 

The present organization and work of the Society, which is 
described at length in the last annual report, a copy of which 
accompanies this representation among other enclosures, may be 
summarized as follows : 

The Society has under it fifteen centres of work in and out 
side of the Bombay Presidency, viz. Bombay, Poona, Hubli, 
Nagpur, Yeotmal, Thana, Satara, Mahableshwar, Malvan, 
Dapoli, Akola, Amraoti, Bhavanagar, Mangalore, Madras. Of 
these the first five, being incorporated branches, are under the 
direct control of the Executive Committee of the Society and the 
rest, being only affiliated, are independent in the management 
of their own local affairs. The Headquarters are in Parel, 
Bombay, and the Society is registered as a charitable Body under 
Act XXI of 1860. It has at present in all thirty educational 
institutions of which five are Boarding Houses, four are technical 
institutions, one is a middle school and the remaining are primary 
schools. The number of pupils on the roll on the 3ist December 
last was 1,231 and the total expenditure of the Society on its 
educational work last year was Rs. 20,304.11.5 for which the 
total Grant-in-Aid received from the Government and the local 
municipalities for the year was Rs. 1,956. Of the thirty institu 
tions sixteen are incorporated and fourteen are affiliated to the 
Society. 1 

It will be seen that this Society, which was started in Bom 
bay some seven years ago, has roused people in many parts 
of Western and Southern India to the duty of doing some 
thing for the Outcaste. The Society is therefore an or 
ganization of real value, and may do still larger work in the 
future. It will be noticed that the work of the Mission is 
practically confined to education, except in so far as it seeks 

1 From an address presented to H. E. the Governor of Bombay, on the 
3oth of July, 1913. ISR., XXIII, 580. 


to rouse public opinion. A similar society exists in Cal 
cutta, but it has not grown to any strength. 

Several of the sectarian groups are attempting to gather 
in Outcastes to their fold, and all of them follow the edu 
cational method which the Depressed Classes Mission uses. 
I have not been able to get detailed reports of these activi 
ties, perhaps because in most cases the work done is small. 
The Arya Samaj probably does more than the others. The 
Deva Samaj has three schools in distinct centres in the Pan- 
jab. The local Sikh Associations called Singh Sabhas 
do what they can to induce Outcastes to become Sikhs. 
Some Hindus in the Mysore State have organized what they 
call The Hindu Education Mission to help the children of the 
Outcastes of Mysore. Three day schools and two night 
schools have been already started. The Theosophists of 
Madras have also a few schools for the same class. Mu- 
hammadans in the Panjab, and also in Malabar have 
succeeded in persuading groups of Outcastes to become 

But by far the most significant and important fact to be 
observed with regard to this whole question is the fact that 
the conscience of India has been roused by what missions 
have done; and it is now perfectly clear that, whether 
sooner or later, whether through the Christian Church or 
through other agencies, the Outcastes of India will in 
evitably escape from the inhuman condition in which Hin 
duism has imprisoned them for two thousand years. Thus 
in far-distant India, and in the twentieth century, Christ 
fulfils once more His promise to bring release to the captive. 
Perhaps the clearest proof of the change in the attitude of 
the Indian public generally to this question will be found 
in a small volume, called The Depressed Classes, containing 
twenty-three addresses and papers by Hindus, Christians, 
Theosophists, Aryas, Brahmas, and Prarthana Samajists. 


Many signs of the working of this new spirit may be ob 
served. The Director of Public Instruction in the Bombay 
Presidency observes that during the last few years a great 
change has come over local boards and other bodies ; there 
is now far less objection to Outcaste children taking places 
in the ordinary schools. 1 Mr. T. B. Pandian has succeeded 
in raising money to dig a number of wells for Outcastes in 
the Tamil country. 2 Quite recently the Hindu community 
in a centre in the Panjab held a ceremony to begin the prac 
tice of allowing these untouchable Outcastes to use the ordi 
nary wells. 3 So the leaven works. 

Yet it is very important to observe that, though the ac 
tivities of the Depressed Classes Mission are of considerable 
value, the fact that it can do no vigorous religious work 
seriously weakens its results. "The kindly touch of the 
Christian religion elevates the Mahar at once and for ever," 
as the Mahars said in their address to the Earl of Crewe; 
while the Depressed Classes Mission can merely give a little 
education and moral advice. 

LITERATURE. The Outcastes Hope, by G. E. Phillips, London, 
Y. P. M. M., 1912, is. net. The Depressed Classes, by many writers, 
Madras, Natesan, 1912, Re. i. 

b. Universal Education 

One of the most striking manifestations of the new 
national spirit is the Bill which Mr. Gokhale laid before the 
Viceroy s Council in the winter of 1911-1912, for the purpose 
of extending primary education all over the country. The 
method proposed was to give local authorities the power, 
under certain conditions, to make primary education com 
pulsory amongst the people under their jurisdiction. For 
various reasons the Bill was rejected, but it served a very 

1 ISR., XXI, 184. 2 Ib., XX, 621. Ib., XXIII, 25. 


useful purpose in familiarizing the educated classes with 
the reasons why universal education is desirable, and in 
evoking the opinions of the native press on the subject. 
Thus, though it failed to pass, the Bill undoubtedly for 
warded the cause. Some step for the furtherance of uni 
versal education will have to be taken ere long. 

c. The Servants of India Society 

In Poona there is a Hindu College called the Fergusson 
College, the professors of which receive very small salaries 
and do their work for the love of India. The quality of 
the education is high ; and a number of most devoted public 
servants have been trained in its work. Amongst these 
the most brilliant is the Hon. Mr. Gopal Krishna Gokhale, 
C. I. E. He served as one of the professors of the College 
for twenty years, from 1885 till the end of 1904. He then 
set himself to the formation of a society, the aim of which 
should be devoted and life-long service to the people of 

The following paragraphs give the substance of an in 
terview which the writer had with Mr. Gokhale in the 
National Liberal Club, London, in June, 1913. 

The Society, which was established in 1905, is called the 
Servants of India Society. Its headquarters are in Poona, 
where there is a Home specially built for the training of the 
workers ; and there are Branches in four of the provinces 
of India, Bombay, the Central Provinces, Madras and the 
United Provinces. 

Only University graduates or men who have done success 
ful public service are admitted as members. When a young 
man wishes to become a member, he lives in Mr. Gokhale s 
house for a short time, or in the Home, so that he may learn by 
experience what the society is, and so that the other members 


may have an opportunity of gauging his temperament and 
character. If he is thought suitable and if he wishes to go 
into the work, he becomes a student. For five years he re 
ceives a salary of only thirty rupees a month, and spends 
every year four months in study in the Home in Poona, 
six months in practical work in that Branch of the society 
to which he belongs and two months at home. The purpose 
of the whole movement is to create by means of practical 
work a higher type of worker. The progress of India ist 
the great aim in view. There is a clear perception that, if i 
India is to be a nation, the communities must become united. . 
Hence in all the work of the society the aim of bringing 
Hindus and Muhammadans together in real brotherhood) 
is kept in view. Young Hindus are sent to live among Mu-) 
hammadans, to help them by loving service to the utmost 
of their power, just as missionaries do. 

Thjotie^^sj)rje^^ ; 

and there is a keen desire on the part of the leaders to get 
members other than Hindus. One Muhammadan is al 
ready a member. There is no attempt made to bind the 
men together religiously. There are no common prayers 
in the Home. Each man is left to order his own devotions 
as he thinks best. Yet Mr. Gokhale holds that the aims 
in view, and the serious renunciation which membership 
imposes, are in themselves deeply religious. No demand 
is made that a student should give up caste ; yet brotherly 
feeling in the Home is so rich and deep that no caste dis 
tinctions are kept. Members are not asked to become 
celibates ; but life in the Home during the four months of 
training is monastic. The students are completely under 
the guidance of the First Member, Mr. Gokhale. During 
the five years of their training they are not allowed to de 
liver public addresses or to write to the magazines, without 
first submitting the matter to the First Member. 


The work of the society is carried on under the direction 
of the Branches. Those who are members give their whole 
time and work to public service, while the students give 
their annual term of six months. A few of them are told 
off annually to make arrangements for the meetings of the 
National Congress. They do all they possibly can to help 
such movements as primary education, female education, and 
the uplifting of the Depressed Classes. In Berar a great 
deal has been done to help the Co-operative Credit Societies 
of the Province. During the serious fodder-famine from 
which Gujarat suffered in 1912, ten members and six volun 
teers were fully engaged for ten months, and did priceless 

After the five years of studentship are over, a member 
receives only fifty rupees a month of salary, even if he be a 
married man with a family. There are at present twenty- 
six members in all. The expenses of the society already 
run from twenty to forty thousand rupees per annum. Mr. 
Gokhale raises the bulk of this large sum himself from 
private friends. 

The following paragraphs copied from a brief prospectus 
of the society : will give a clear idea of the spirit of the 
undertaking : 

For some time past, the conviction has been forcing itself on 
many earnest and thoughtful minds that a stage has been 
reached in the work of nation-building in India, when, for further 
progress, the devoted labours of a specially trained agency, 
applying itself to the task in a true missionary spirit, are re 
quired. The work that has been accomplished so far has indeed 
been of the highest value. The growth during the last fifty 
years of a feeling of common nationality, based upon common 
traditions and ties, common hopes and aspirations, and even 
common disabilities, has been most striking. The fact that we 
are Indians first, and Hindus, Mahomedans and Parsees or 
1 The Servants of India Society, to be had from the Society. 


Christians afterwards, is being realized in a steadily increasing 
measure, and the idea of a united and renovated India, marching 
onwards to a place among the nations of the world worthy of her 
great past, is no longer a mere idle dream of a few imaginative 
minds, but is the definitely accepted creed of those who form the 
brain of the community the educated classes of the country. 
A creditable beginning has already been made in matters of 
education and of local self-government; and all classes of the 
people are slowly but steadily coming under the influence of 
liberal ideas. The claims of public life are every day receiving 
wider recognition, and attachment to the land of our birth is 
growing into a strong and deeply cherished passion of the heart. 
The annual meetings of Congresses and Conferences, the work of 
public bodies and associations, the writings in the columns of the 
Indian Press all bear witness to the new life that is coursing 
in the veins of the people. The results achieved so far are 
undoubtedly most gratifying, but they only mean that the jungle 
has been cleared and the foundations laid. The great work of 
rearing the superstructure has yet to be taken in hand and the 
situation demands on the part of workers devotion and sacrifices 
proportionate to the magnitude of the task. 

The Servants of India Society has been established to meet 
in some measure these requirements of the situation. Its mem 
bers frankly accept the British connection as ordained, in the 
inscrutable dispensation of Providence, for India s good. Self- 
Government within the Empire for their country and a higher 
life generally for their countrymen is their goal. This goal, they 
recognize, cannot be attained without years of earnest and 
patient effort and sacrifices worthy of the cause. Much of the 
work must be directed toward building up in the country a higher 
type of character and capacity than is generally available at 
present ; and the advance can only be slow. Moreover the path 
is beset with great difficulties ; there will be constant tempta 
tions to turn back ; bitter disappointments will repeatedly try 
the faith of those who have put their hand to the work. But the 
weary toil can have but one end, if only the workers grow not 
faint-hearted on the way. One essential condition of success in 
this work is that a sufficient number of our countrymen must 
now come forward to devote themselves to the cause in the spirit 


in which religious work is undertaken. Public life must be 
spiritualized. Love of country must so fill the heart that all else 
shall appear as of little moment by its side. A fervent patriot 
ism which rejoices at every opportunity of sacrifice for the 
motherland, a dauntless heart which refuses to be turned back 
from its object by difficulty or danger, a deep faith in the purpose 
of Providence which nothing can shake equipped with these, 
the worker must start on his mission and reverently seek the 
joy which conies of spending oneself in the service of one s 

Mr. M. K. Gandhi, 1 who did such excellent service in 
the struggle with the South African Government for jus 
tice for the Indian, has signified his intention of becoming 
a worker under the Society. 

d. The Seva Sadan 

The progress of thought and the march of events, work 
ing together in India, have forced many w^mn^jj>roblems 
to the front during the last few years. 

The Seva Sadan, or Home 2 of Service, was founded in 
Bombay in July, 1908, by Mr. B. M. Malabari, the Parsee 
Reformer whose pamphlet on Child-marriage and Widow- 
celibacy published in 1887 is mentioned above, 3 and Daya- 
ram Gidumal, a Hindu from Sindh, a retired judge. These 
two vigorous men collected large sums of money and guar 
anteed a steady income for the institution. During the last 
three years they paid in Rs. 45,000 between them, and 
raised an Endowment and Building Fund of Rs. 82,000. 
But Malabari is dead, while Gidumal has fallen away from 

1 See M . K. Gandhi, a sketch of his life and work. Madras, Natesan, 
as. 4. 

2 1 owe practically all my information on the Seva Sadan to a letter 
from Miss B. A. Engineer, the General Secretary, and a few pamphlets which 
she kindly sent me. 

8 See p. 87. 


social reform ; so that the Seva Sadan must now rely on 
other friends. 

Perhaps the following lines cut from one of their publica 
tions will most readily give a clear idea of the work : 

OBJECT : Social Educational and Medical Service (Seva) 
through Indian Sisters, regular and lay. 
j The Society maintains the following institutions : 
* i. A Home for the Homeless. 
| 2. An Industrial Home with various departments. 
/ 3. A Shelter for the distressed. 
4. A Dispensary for Women and Children. 
> 5. Ashrams (or Sisterhoods) Hindu, Parsi and Mahom- 

6. A Work-Class, also Home Classes in Chawls (i.e. large 
tenement houses). 

All these are for the benefit of women. 

A resident lady doctor gives her whole time to the work ; 
and two others give a certain amount of help. A social 
service nurse is also available for outdoor work ; and there 
are lay sisters, Hindu, Parsee and Muslim, who move 
about among the poor. Young probationers are sent for 
training to various medical schools. 

The society also publishes tracts for free distribution on 
medical, sanitary and moral subjects. 

The Home has now its own building in Gamdevi Road, 
Bombay. The annual expenditure is about Rs. 20,000. 

There are branches in Poona and Ahmedabad which are 
also doing excellent work. 

One might reasonably mention here certain other forms 

of social work, such as Widows Homes, the Social Service 

being done by students, and especially the Nishkama Karma 

Matha, 1 which is very similar in purpose and in work to the 

1 See below, p. 403. 


Seva Sadan ; but our aim in this chapter has been to group 
together the new movements which shew a decidedly 
nationalist purpose, while in other chapters we have dealt 
with those which are more sectarian in character, 1 or are 
clearly inspired by social considerations. 2 

4. FINE ART AND Music 

The Government School of Art, Calcutta, has been for 
several years the centre of a very promising revival of 
Indian painting, sculpture, wood-carving and other fine 
arts. Mr. E. B. Havell, who was for several years Principal 
of the School, has been the leader of the movement; but 
he has been ably seconded by a group of very promising 
Indian painters, the most prominent of whom is Mr. Aba- 
nindra Nath Tagore. The purpose in view is to produce a 
genuinely Indian school of art. A number of beautiful 
reproductions of both ancient and modern pictures have 
been published at moderate prices by the Indian Society 
of Oriental Art, which is closely connected with the Cal 
cutta School ; and in London the India Society is doing 
similar work. 

Mr. Havell and Dr. A. K. Coomaraswamy, who is con 
nected with Ceylon, have for several years led a crusade to 
convince the world that Indian art has high spiritual quali 
ties which set it at least in the front rank of the world s art, 
if not in advance of all other art. This high argument, 
which is parallel to the claims made on behalf of Hinduism, 
Buddhism and other Oriental faiths by the revivalists, has 
proved of large value ; for it has led to a far more intelligent 
appreciation of Indian sculpture and painting than was 
possible in former years, and to the recognition of fine quali 
ties in them hitherto unnoticed, and has also given great 

1 Chap. IV. 2 Chap. VI. 


encouragement to Indian artists ; but it seems clear that it 
has failed to bring sober critics to the acceptance of all that 
Messrs. Havell and Coomaraswamy teach. No one who 
wishes to understand India ought to fail to look through 
Mr. Havell s exquisite book, Indian Sculpture and Paint 
ing, and the volumes of reproductions published by Dr. 

Until quite recently the cultivation of music in India 
was left largely to nautch-girls. Here also the new 
national spirit has proved creative. Keen interest in 
the best Indian music, both vocal and instrumental, 
is being shewn in several quarters. The Gandharva 
Mahdvidydlaya, or Academy of Indian Music, was estab 
lished in Lahore in 1901, but has now its headquarters in 
Girgaum, Bombay. Local musical societies have appeared 
in a number of places, one of which, the Poona Gayan 
Samaj, or Song Society, may be mentioned. Sir George 
Clarke, when Governor of Bombay, and also Lady Clarke, 
did all they could to encourage these efforts. Within the 
Christian Church, the Rev. H. A. Popley of Erode, in 
South India, has done excellent service in adapting the best 
Indian music to Christian uses. Several Europeans have 
recently written books on Indian music. 

LITERATURE. Indian Sculpture and Painting, E. B. Havell, Lon 
don, Murray, 635. Essays on Indian Art, Industry and Education, E. B. 
Havell, Madras, Natesan, Rs. i as. 4. Essays on National Idealism, 
A. K. Coomaraswamy, Madras, Natesan, Rs. i . The Music of Hindu 
stan, by A. H. Fox Strangways, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1914, zis. 


The fourth son of Debendranath Tagore * is Rabindra- 
nath Tagore, 2 who is by far the most prominent literary 

1 See p. 39, above. 2 See his portrait, Plate XI, facing page 376. 


man in India to-day. For many years he has been the ac 
knowledged king of Bengali literature. His songs and hymns 
are on every lip, and everything he writes is treasured. 
When he delivers an oration in Bengali, or when he sings 
some of his own songs, his power and charm are inex 
pressible. Quite recently he translated a number of his 
short devotional poems into rhythmical English prose; 
and, by the advice of his friends, they were published in 
England, under the title Gitanjali. He is now recognized 
as one of the greatest literary men of the Empire ; and 
European opinion as such is expressed in the award of the 
Nobel prize for literature to him. 

But the chief fact to be realized about him is that he is 
the very flower of the new nationalist movement, represent 
ing at their very highest the noblest motives that have 
stirred the people of India since the new century began. 
His position is central. Though he is the son of Deben- 
dranath Tagore, 1 he no longer holds his father s religious 
position. He expects, as he said to me a few months ago, 
that the regeneration of. India will come through gradual 
change within the body of Hinduism itself rather than 
from the action of any detached society like the Brahma 
Samaj. Even when he tells his readers in Sddhana that 
his religious faith is a purely Indian growth, owing noth 
ing to the West, he is still the child of his day ; for the 
modern Nationalist has no difficulty in finding every 
Christian principle and practice in ancient Hinduism. 

Mr. Tagore sums up in himself all the best characteristics 
of modern nationalist thought and feeling. He is an eager 
educationalist, maintaining at Bolpur, Bengal, a Boarding 
School in which two hundred boys receive an education 
combining the best traditions of the old Hindu teaching 
with the healthiest modern methods. A good modern 

1 P. 39, above. 


education is given ; the health of the body is secured by ath 
letics; and music and daily worship, in the simple and 
severe manner of the Brahma Samaj, are used to purify and 
strengthen the religious nature. 1 

Mr. Tagore feels as keenly on social questions. Never 
shall I forget the magnificent oration which I heard him 
deliver in Bengali, on Indian Society, in the Minerva Theatre, 
Calcutta. 2 The loftiness of the speaker s character, his 
brilliant diction, and the superb strength and music of his 
utterance moved me very deeply, and produced an extraor 
dinary effect on the great audience. His proposals were 
scarcely practical, and no one has attempted to carry them 
out in action ; but one could not fail to realize his insight 
into the urgency of the whole social problem or to feel the 
heart-throb of nationalism in every sentence. 

The universal appeal of Gitanjali 3 is due largely to the 
lofty religious feeling which inspires the work, and to the 
sincerity and simplicity of the style, touched with the 
colour and fragrance of the East, but largely also to the 
character of the religious ideas of the poems. There is 
sufficient Hindu phraseology and form, drawn from the 
exquisite Bengali lyrics of the Chaitanya movement, 4 to 
distinguish these poems from European work and to give 
them a most engaging freshness ; yet the dominant beliefs 
are Christian and in full harmony with modern thought. 
There is no karma, no transmigration, : no inaction, no 
pessimism, no world-weariness and hatred of sense in 
this lofty verse ; but there is the perception that nature 
is the revelation of God ; there is everywhere the joy of 
meeting Him in sun and shower ; there is the dignity and 

1 The school is described in the Modern Review, May, 1913. 

2 July 22, 1904. The address was reported in the Bengalee next day. 

3 Gitanjali, by R. N. Tagore. London, Macmillan, 1913, 45. 6d. 

4 P. 294, above. 



worth of toil, deliverance won only by going down where 
God is, among " the poorest and lowliest and lost," the 
duty of service, the core of religion found in righteous 
ness, life won by dying to self, sin recognized as shame and 
thraldom, and death as God s messenger and man s friend. 1 

1 This essay was written before the striking appreciation appeared in the 
Times Literary Supplement of May 16, 1914, and before the author had 
seen the review in the Spectator of Feb. 14, 1914. 




SOCIAL service and reform are so closely intertwined with 
religious thought and effort in every land, and especially 
in India, that it may prove useful to students to have a 
connected account, however brief, of the various movements 
and organizations which have influenced the people of India 
socially during the past century. 


The Indian social movement is a direct outcome of 
Christian missions and Western influence ; and all communi 
ties have felt the impact in a greater or less degree. The 
primal impulse was communicated by the Serampore 
Missionaries to Ram Mohan Ray, and by him to the 
Hindu community; and, throughout the whole history, 
Christian teaching, effort and example have done more than 
anything else to quicken the movement. 

Ram Mohan Ray scarcely touched the question of caste, 
but he condemned polygamy, and he spoke and wrote 
against widow-burning with so much force and convincing 
power as materially to prepare the way for Lord Bentinck s 
act. 1 

Under Lord Bentinck the British Government entered 
on a new policy of very great significance, the putting down 
of certain social and religious customs which had for many 
1 Above, p. 33. 



centuries been usual in India but which were outrageously 
inhuman. Widow-burning was prohibited in 1829 ; thagi, 
or the strangling of travellers, was then put down, and the 
crusade against female infanticide was begun. Under later 
rulers human sacrifice and religious suicide were prohibited. 

In 1849 a secret society for social reform was founded by 
Hindus in Bombay, and in 1851 the Parsees of the city 
formed a Religious Reform Association. 

Besides their daily teaching in College, Duff and the 
other educational missionaries of Calcutta used to deliver 
public lectures in the city in which social as well as religious 
questions were discussed. As a result of this Christian 
teaching a secret society was formed in Calcutta, in which 
Hindus pledged themselves to educate their wives and 
daughters. In 1849 Isvara Chandra Vidyasagara, along 
with a European official, Mr. Drinkwater Bethune, founded 
the first Hindu school for girls in Calcutta. About the same 
time Vidyasagara also began the agitation which led to the 
Government Act of 1856 legalizing the marriage of Hindu 

A little earlier Lord Dalhousie passed an Act prohibiting 
the gross obscenities which until then had been common in 
the streets of Indian cities. It was found necessary to in 
sert a clause into the Bill providing that its restrictions 
should not apply to the images, temples and cars of the gods. 

The next prominent name in social reform is Keshab 
Chandra Sen. He was the first non-Christian who adopted 
the whole social programme of Christian Missions, namely, 
the thorough reform of the Hindu family, the repudiation 
of caste and the practice of philanthropy. Through his 
influence new non-idolatrous rites for domestic ceremonies 
were introduced among Brahmas ; and they gave up child- 
marriage, polygamy and enforced widowhood, and began 
to press forward the education of girls. Brahma marriages 


were legalized by Lord Lawrence s Government in 1872. 
Sasipada Banerjea did a good deal of excellent social work 
at Barahanagar near Calcutta. The New Dispensation 
and the Sadharan Brahma Samaj are still true to Keshab s 
teaching and practice in social matters. 

The interest of the story passes next to the Bombay 
Presidency, where from 1870 onwards Mafikar, Ranade and 
Vishnu Sastri Pandit carried on a vigorous and fruitful agi 
tation in favour of the remarriage of Hindu widows. 

About 1870 the movement appeared also in the North. 
In that year Syed Ahmad Khan began his long-continued 
agitation in favour of modern education and social reform 
among Muhammadans; and from 1875, when the Arya 
Samaj was founded, we must also reckon Dayananda as 
helping the cause of reform along certain lines. He not 
only condemned idolatry but opposed child-marriage and 
favoured female education. His crusade against caste was 
more nominal than real. 

From 1880 onwards the great mass movements of the 
Depressed Classes towards Christianity began. 1 These 
have not only added hundreds of thousands to the Chris 
tian Church, but have powerfully affected thinking men of 
all religions throughout India, and have started movements 
of untold significance among Brahmas, Aryas, Hindus and 

In 1887 the first Widows Home organized by a Hindu was 
opened by Sasipada Banerjea at Barahanagar near Calcutta. 
In the same year B. M. Malabari, a Parsee, published a 
large pamphlet entitled Infant Marriage and Enforced 
Widowhood in India. This pamphlet, with its unsparing 
criticism and its great array of weighty names, roused wide 
spread discussion, and did much to move public opinion. 
It was largely as a result of this agitation that the Govern- 
1 See above, p. 366. 


ment of India felt free to pass, in 1891, their Age of Consent 
Act, whereby cohabitation with a wife under the age of 
twelve is prohibited. It has been found impossible to en 
force the Act with anything like strictness; but it has 
proved distinctly helpful in more ways than one. 

Meanwhile social reformers had organized themselves 
and had met in 1888, for the first time, in the National 
Social Conference, which since that date has formed the 
centre of much social effort and has proved a powerful 
agent for the formation of public opinion. A few facts 
about its history are given below. 

From about 1890 onwards one can trace the influence of 
a large number of organizations in social matters. Most 
of these new bodies are exceedingly conservative, the 
Ramakrishna Mission, the Sectarian movements, whether 
Hindu, Jain or Muhammadan, and the Caste Conferences ; 
yet every one of them does something to promote female 
education and to raise the age of the marriage of girls. 
Even the ultra conservative Nambutlri Brahmans of Tra- 
vancore are beginning to move. 

Since the opening of the new century there has been a 
notable increase in earnest attempts to render social ser 
vice to the most needy. The Ramakrishna Mission has 
not only given itself to education but to medical work and 
to flood and famine relief. The Arya Samaj has also done 
great work in famine relief. But the most important or 
ganizations are the various societies, Brahma, Arya, Hindu, 
Muslim, which are seeking to help the Depressed Classes, 
the many new Widows Homes, the Seva Sadan and Mr. 
Gokhale s Servants of India Society. 

LITERATURE. The Administration of the East India Company, 
by J. W. Kaye, London, Bentley, 1853 (describes the great reforms). 
The Suppression of Human Sacrifice, Suttee and Female Infanticide, 


Madras, C. L. S. I., 1898, i\ as. (abridged from Kaye). Confes 
sions of a Thug, by Meadows Taylor, London, Triibner, is. Rambles 
and Recollections, by W. H. Sleeman, Oxford University Press, 73. 6d. 
net. Social Reform in Bengal, by S. N. Tattvabhushana, Calcutta. In 
fant Marriage and Enforced Widowhood in India, by B. M. Malabari, 
Bombay, 1887. Religious and Social Reform, by M. G. Ranade, 
Bombay, Claridge, 1902. The Speeches and Writings of Sir N. G. 
Chandavarkar, Bombay, 1911, Rs. 2 as. 8. 


It was the Bombay Presidency, and, in the main, the 
Prarthana Samaj, that created the new movement. The 
earliest Social Reform Association was formed in Sind in 
1882. The National Social Conference was organized and 
met for the first time at Madras in I888. 1 The real leader 
was Mr. M. G. Ranade, but, with his usual modesty, he 
remained as much in the background as possible. Sir T. 
Madhava Rao presided at the first Conference, and after 
wards the most prominent place was usually taken by Rai 
Bahadur Raghunath Rao, 2 a Hindu belonging to the Madras 
Presidency, who had been Prime Minister of the State of 
Indore, and was older than Ranade. The methods of the 
Conference are practically the same as those in use in the 
Congress. Representatives meet from every part of India. 
The subjects on the agenda are discussed, and resolutions are 
passed. The Conference usually meets in the same city as 
the Congress, and just after it. At the close of the Confer 
ence the members usually dine together, irrespective of 
caste, race and religious distinctions. While a few Muham- 
madans and others attend, the great majority of those who 
take part in the Conference are Hindus; and the whole 
policy of the movement tends to be Hindu in its affinities 
and interests. 3 The following set of resolutions passed in 

1 Ranade, Essays, 179. 2 This leader died in 1912. ISR., XXII, 422. 
3 See Resolution XI, below. 


the Conference held at Allahabad in December, 1910, will 
give some idea of its interests and work : 1 

I. (a) That in the opinion of this Conference greater and 
more persistent efforts should be made by the edu 
cated community themselves to promote the Edu 
cation of Women. That with a view to give effect 
to this recommendation this Conference is of opin 
ion that a larger number of schools should be 
opened in towns and that a graduated series of 
text books be prepared for use in such schools and 
that local Committees be appointed to collect 
funds and to establish and conduct such schools. 
(b) That this Conference while appreciating the help 
which Government has extended to the cause of the 
Education of Women in this country is of opinion 
that the proportion of expenditure on the Educa 
tion of Women is much less than it should be and 
it earnestly prays that Government may be pleased 
to spend a larger proportion of revenues under this 

II. That this Conference strongly recommends that every 
effort should be made to persuade parents not to marry 
their boys before the age of 25 and their girls before 16. 

III. This Conference is of opinion that the time has come 

when steps should be taken to abolish the parda system. 

IV. That this Conference welcomes the efforts that are being 

made in several parts of the country to raise the moral, 
material and social condition of the depressed classes, 
and urges that further efforts be made to obtain for 
these classes full recognition as an integral part of the 
general body of the community. 

V. That this Conference records its opinion that no attempt 
should be made in the census to introduce artificial dis 
tinctions among classes recognized as belonging to our 
community and in this connection views with great 
1 ISR., XXI, 221. 


concern the recent circular issued by Mr. Gait regard 
ing the depressed classes. 

VI. That the miserable condition of young widows should be 
improved by starting or further strengthening Widows 
Homes in each province, by giving young widows 
technical education and permitting such of them as 
wish to marry to do so without let or hindrance. 

VII. That this Conference is of opinion that the requirements 
of Act III of 1872 of repudiation of religious belief on 
the part of parties to marriage is unnecessary and inex 
pedient, and urges that the law be so amended as to 
omit this undue interference with religious beliefs. 

VIII. That every effort should be made to induce sub-castes of 
the same caste to interdine and intermarry. 

IX. That a working fund be established for the organization 
of the annual Social Conference for collecting and 
publishing its proceedings and for carrying on the 
necessary office work during the year. 

X. That this Conference reiterates the resolution passed at 
previous Conferences urging on all social reform bodies 
the necessity of strenuous effort s in favour of temper 
ance and social purity, and regrets the action of the 
exhibition authorities to allow a dancing girl to per 
form within the precincts. 

XI. That in the opinion of this Conference it is a pressing duty 
of the Hindu community to provide facilities for the 
re-admission of repentant converts. 

XII. That all obstructions to the re-admission of foreign 
returned Indians be removed. 

XIII. That in the opinion of this Conference it is urgently 
necessary that there should be some legislation control 
ling the administration and management of charitable 
and religious trusts which as experience has proved 
have been utterly mismanaged by their trustees. 


The year 1897 marks a further advance in the move 
ment. Two permanent provincial organizations for fur 
thering social reform arose that year, The Bombay Presi 
dency Social Reform Association, and The Madras Hindu 
Social Reform Association. These bodies at once began to 
hold annual Provincial Conferences. 1 In 1900 Bengal fol 
lowed suit. 2 These provincial assemblies, which are usually 
held at the same time and place as the provincial gatherings 
for political purposes, have proved extremely useful. Dis 
tances are so great in India that it is very hard to gather men 
from every quarter for a Conference, but the problem is 
much easier in a province. Local conferences are also held 
representing single districts or other sections of the country. 
The first of these were also held in 1897, in the Godavery 
and Mangalore districts. 3 Wherever a group of the friends 
of freedom and progress happen to be, there it is compara 
tively easy to hold a social conference. 

Since 1904 an Indian Ladies Conference (B karat Mahila 
Parishad) has been held at the same time and place as the 
National Social Conference, to discuss subjects affecting 
women s life. The following Resolutions were passed in 
Hindi at the seventh Conference held at Allahabad at 
Christmas, 1910 : 

1 . That in the opinion of this Conference the best way of the 
advancement of the country is female education and the Con 
ference requests all Indians to make arrangements for spreading 
female education. 

2. That in the opinion of this Conference it is not enough to 
teach girls reading and writing. They ought to be taught how 
to manage the household, how to attend a sick person, sewing, 

3. That in the opinion of this Conference child-marriage is 

1 Ranade, Essays, 165-6, 279. Cf. for Bombay, ISR., XX, 136, 148, 
292, 304; XXII, 375 ; and Madras, ISR., XIX, 580; XX, 375, 462. 

2 See ISR., XXII, 44. 3 Ranade, Essays, 165. 


the root of all evils. It is the duty of the well-wishers of the 
country to remove this evil. 

4. That this Conference is of opinion that it is absolutely 
necessary to lessen the rigour of the parda. 

5. That this Conference thinks that the children should not 
be made to wear ornaments. 

6. That the condition of Hindu widows is pitiable, and in 
order to save them from many troubles it is necessary to open 
Widows Homes where they can be educated. 

Ladies have also met in conference in a few provincial 
centres in recent years, notably Benares, 1 Guntur, 2 Vizia- 
nagram 3 and Travancore. 4 

In 1890 The Indian Social Reformer, a twelve-page weekly 
in English, began to appear. Its office is in Bombay. Its 
editor, Mr. K. Natarajan, belongs to the Madras Presidency. 
The paper has had a very honourable record. It stands 
for religion, for morality, for social and political progress, 
and has consistently maintained a courageous and manly 
policy. Its influence as an encouragement to social re 
formers in small places, where orthodox opposition is 
fierce and powerful, must be very great. 


As British rule was extended in India, administrators 
discovered, to their horror, that female infanticide prevailed 
to a most alarming extent in the Centre and the West. In 
some villages there was scarcely a girl to be seen ; in others 
there were four or five times as many boys as girls, all the 
rest having been destroyed. Under Lord Bentinck admin 
istrative action was taken to put down the inhuman practice. 
The crusade took many years ; and even now there may be 
some places where it is still secretly practised ; but on the 

1 ISR., XX, 439. 3 Ibf) xxi, 222. 

2 Ib -> XX, 498. i Ibf> XXIII, 161. 


whole it has been stamped out, and no Indian would wish 
to see it revived. 


The Hindu law since about 500 B.C. has been that the 
father who does not marry his daughter before the menses 
appear commits sin ; and since the Christian era, if not 
earlier, the law has been held to be a serious religious ob 
ligation and has been almost universally obeyed. 1 

Christian influence began to make itself felt early in the 
nineteenth century, and bore fruit among the Parsees in 
Bombay, in the Brahma Samaj under Keshab Chandra 
Sen and in the Arya Samaj under Dayananda. B. M. 
Malabari, a Parsee journalist, started in 1884 an agitation 
on child-marriage and widow-celibacy which convulsed 
Hindu society, and deeply influenced public opinion. He 
wished Government to take action, especially in the matter 
of child-marriage. 2 His pamphlet, containing the opinions 
of many prominent Hindus and Government officials, was 
published in i88y. 3 Much useful discussion was provoked. 
Missionaries supported him warmly throughout the country. 
Soon, a case occurred, which proved conclusively how 
serious the matter was becoming : 

Public attention was called to the matter by the case of 
Rukhmabai in Bombay, a case which showed that relief was 
demanded not for Christian girls alone, but for Hindu girls as 
well. Rukhmabai was a Hindu girl, educated in the Free 
Church Mission School and afterwards as a Zenana pupil. She 
was clever and accomplished, and the man, Dadaji by name, to 
whom she had been married in infancy, being repulsive and 
illiterate, she refused to live with him. He appealed to the law 
to compel her to do so. The case was carried from court to 
court, till the High Court ordered Rukhmabai either to live with 

1 Crown of Hinduism, 94-96. 2 Ranade, Essays, xxiv ff. 

3 See p. 389, above. 


Dadaji as his wife or go to prison for six months. A compromise, 
however, was then effected. A sum of money, sufficient to buy 
another wife, was paid to Dadaji. But it was decreed that, 
according to Hindu law, Rukhmabai must never marry. She 
went to London to study medicine, took the degree of M.D., 
and returned to India to take charge of a hospital for women. 1 

In 1890 a tragic occurrence brought another aspect of the 
subject forcibly before the minds of all men. A Bengali 
girl, named Phulmani Dasi, eleven years of age, died in 
Calcutta in consequence of what in all other civilized coun 
tries would be described as an outrage on the part of her 
husband, who was a man of thirty. He was arrested and 
tried for culpable homicide. The only defence he made was 
to quote the clause in the Penal Code which fixed the age 
of ten years as the lowest limit for married life. Yet he was 
convicted, and sentenced to twelve months rigorous im 
prisonment. The consequence was a loud outcry from the 
orthodox community. They complained that it was utterly 
unjust to punish a man for doing what was prescribed by 
his religion and distinctly permitted by law. 

The case caused great indignation in Christian circles. 
Europeans demanded, in the words of Max Miiller, "that 
the strong arm of the English law be not rendered infamous 
by aiding and abetting unnatural atrocities." There was 
a loud cry that the age should be raised, and that the pen 
alty should be increased. The Government of India there 
fore introduced a bill into the Legislative Council, raising 
the age from ten to twelve. 

The Bill roused the most violent opposition amongst 
Hindus. The following sentences give some idea of the 
excitement and fury raised by the proposal : 

Never before, within living memory, had Bengal been so 
agitated. Crowds of excited Hindus paraded the streets all 
1 Kenneth S, Macdonald, 183-4. 


day and far into the night, yelling at the pitch of their voices, 
"Our religion is in danger." Those who were still sane enough 
to argue protested that the Bill was an infringement of the 
Queen s Proclamation of 1858, by which she pledged her Gov 
ernment to a policy of non-interference with the religions of her 
Indian subjects. ... A monster meeting of protest was held 
on the maidan, for no public building in Calcutta would accom 
modate all those who wished to be present. The attendance 
was estimated at one hundred thousand, and speeches were 
delivered from twelve platforms. ... No such public demon 
stration had ever been seen in Calcutta. When it became 
apparent that the appeals to the Government of India and to 
the Secretary of State were in vain, it was resolved as a last 
resort to make a supreme effort to move Kali, the patron goddess 
of Calcutta, to intervene. A mahapuja, or whole day of fasting, 
prayer and sacrifice was proclaimed at Kalighat, the great shrine 
of this popular deity, in one of the suburbs of Calcutta. ... It 
was estimated at the time that two hundred thousand rupees 
(over 13,000) were spent on the ceremony. Three hundred 
pundits, many of whom had been brought from Benares, led the 
devotions. One devotee wished to sacrifice himself upon the 
altar, and was with difficulty restrained from his purpose. 
Others, like the priests of Baal, cut themselves with knives. 1 

But Government passed the Bill in spite of all protests. 
The date was 1891. Those who are best able to judge be 
lieve that it has had a good effect ; but it is quite well 
known that the law is still broken in multitudes of cases. 

About twenty years ago Colonel Walter, then Agent to 
the Governor-General in Rajputana, suggested to the 
leaders of Rajput society an arrangement which has pro 
duced excellent results. By the unanimous decision of these 
men it was decided that no girl should be married before 
she was fourteen, and that the marriage expenses should 
in no case exceed a certain proportion of the father s yearly 
income. A society, called the Walterkrit Rajputra Hita- 

* Kenneth S. Macdonald, 188-9. 


karini Sabha (the Rajput Benevolent Society created by 
Colonel Walter) sees to the enforcement of these rules. It 
would be well if similar institutions could be introduced 
elsewhere. 1 

In 1901 the Gaekwar of Baroda passed the Infant Mar 
riage Prevention Act, which fixed the minimum age for 
marriage in the State at twelve for girls and sixteen for boys. 
Early in 1912 the Census Commissioner of Baroda pub 
lished his impressions of the results of the act. The Times 
of India thus summarizes his views : 

In the ten years under review no less than 22,218 applications 
were made for exemption from the provisions of the Act and 
95 per cent of them were allowed. Over 23,000 marriages were 
performed even without this formality of an application for 
exemption, in violation of the Act. The parties responsible 
were fined from a few to a hundred rupees, and the Superintend 
ent thinks that there must have been an equally large number 
of marriages which were connived at by the village patels who 
are also the marriage registrars. The age returns are notori 
ously unreliable, but even thus there were 158 per thousand 
males and 277 per thousand females married and widowed, 
under 10 years of age. 

Clearly the act is much too far in advance of the public 

A certain amount of progress has been achieved in this 
matter as a result of these acts and of the persistent agita 
tion of the reformers ; but it is universally recognized that 
the mass of Hindu society has been scarcely touched as yet. 


In ancient India boys of the Brahman, Kshatriya and 
Vaisya castes were expected to go to school for a religious 
education for an extended period, and were married only on 

1 Risley, The People of India, 188. 


their final return from school. But for many centuries the 
vast mass of boys have not taken the old religious training. 
Hence nothing has stood in the way of marriage; and in 
many parts of the country it has long been customary to 
marry boys at the age of eight, ten or twelve. 1 

Social Reformers have appealed powerfully against this 
most unwise custom, and modern education has tended to 
restrict the practice ; but the plan referred to in the follow 
ing paragraph is probably the best that has yet been thought 
of for dealing with the difficulty : 

At the last meeting of the Travancore Popular Assembly 
Mr. K. G. Sesha Iyer advocated the exclusion of married boys 
from Government Schools. The Central Hindu College at 
Benares has been enforcing this exclusion for several years 
past. The rule ought to be adopted everywhere. Seeing that 
the ancient ideal of students in India was celibacy until educa 
tion was finished, there ought to be no opposition from orthodox 
Hindus. To prevent any possible hardship to married boys, 
who are not responsible for their marriage, it may be laid down 
that the rule will be enforced five years hence. 2 


Every Hindu marriage is in posse polygamous. Though 
the great majority of Hindus are monogamous in practice, 
yet there is a law which allows a man to take a second wife 
if the first proves childless or quarrelsome ; and from the 
earliest times until to-day kings and wealthy men have been 
accustomed to marry many wives. 3 

Ram Mohan Ray himself had two wives, when he was a 
young man; but, later, under Christian influence, he 
condemned polygamy. Social reformers have continued to 
agitate against the practice, and public opinion has been 

1 Crown of Hinduism, 86. 2 Modern Review, May, 1913. 

8 Crown of Hinduism, 91-93. 


partially modified, but the old conditions still prevail. 
There has been very little betterment, except in the Samajes. 


About 500 B.C. it became the rule that only childless 
Hindu widows should marry, and from about the time of 
the Christian era, it has been the law that no Hindu widow, 
not even a virgin child-widow, shall marry. 1 Some three 
or four centuries later the practice of sail became recognized 
as legitimate, i.e. when a man died, his widow was allowed 
to mount the pyre and be burned along with his body if 
she wished to do so. Widows who did not mount the pyre 
had thenceforward to live a life of serious asceticism. In 
many parts of India to-day, as soon as a woman is widowed, 
her hair is shaven away and she must live tonsured all the 
rest of her life. 2 

By the beginning of the nineteenth century widow-burn 
ing had reached huge proportions in India, especially in 
Bengal. The vast majority of widows certainly were not 
burned ; but several hundreds actually mounted the pyre 
every year in Bengal alone. In certain kingdoms, especially 
in the South, a vast holocaust of women took place when the 
king died. Individual Englishmen protested vehemently 
against the practice; and here and there an English ad 
ministrator took the law into his own hands, and prevented 
the burning of a widow ; but for many years the British 
Government hesitated to interfere. The Serampore mis 
sionaries protested very loudly on the subject both in Eng 
land and in India ; and Ram Mohan Ray added his powerful 
voice to theirs. Finally, in 1829, in spite of the opposition 
of many leading Hindus and of some Englishmen, Lord 
Bentinck prohibited the practice within the British prov- 

1 Crown of Hinduism, 96-98. 2 Ib., 98-101. 



inces. It was many years later before it was put down 
in native states. 

Perhaps no educated Indian to-day would wish to revive 
the practice ; for all now recognize that it came into use at 
a comparatively modern date ; but, even in these days, a 
Hindu widow occasionally carries out the old custom by 
burning herself. When such a thing happens, the Hindu 
community still thrills with reverence and sympathy. It 
may be also mentioned that Dr. A. K. Coomaraswamy 
published in The Sociological Review for April, 1913, a paper, 
in which he attempts to set forth the essential nature of the 
Hindu ideal of woman, and he gives his paper the title, 
Satl; A Defence of the Indian Woman. 

It was Pandit Isvara Chandra Vidyasagara who began 
the agitation in favour of allowing Hindu widows to remarry, 
if they wished to do so. The Government of India passed 
an Act legalizing such marriages in 1856. About 1870 an 
agitation was started in the Bombay Presidency for the 
purpose of rousing Hindus to such sympathy with widows 
as would make widow-marriage really possible in Hindu 
society. 1 The Social Reform Movement has made this one 
of its main aims, and has done a great deal to commend the 
remarriage of widows in all parts of the country. In con 
sequence, a certain number of such marriages do take place 
in all grades of Hindu society, and in most parts of the 
country ; but they are exceedingly few, and it is question 
able whether they are increasing. 

Social reformers have not done very much to lighten the 
burden of suffering which the widow has to endure through 
out her life. Only one point has been vehemently attacked 
by them, namely, the tonsure. Appeals on this subject 
now and then appear in the columns of the Indian Social 
Reformer; and in 1909 a small volume called The Ton- 

1 Ranade, Essays, xvii, xviii. 


sure of Hindu Widows, by M. A. Subramaniam, B.A., B.L., 
was published in Madras. 1 

During the last twenty years groups of Hindus in various 
parts of the country have begun to maintain Widows 
homes in imitation of Christian missions. The earliest 
Home outside the Christian Church was established at 
Barahanagar near Calcutta in 1887 by Sasipada Banerjea, 2 
and did good work for some time ; but it is no longer in 
existence. In 1889, a Christian lady, Pandita Ramabai, 
opened the Sdradd Sadan, or Home of Learning, for Hindu 
widows in Bombay. 3 Soon after it was moved to Poona. 
But within a few years so many of the widows had been 
baptized that Hindus became very hostile. Most of the 
widows were withdrawn, and Hindu subscriptions ceased. 
But the work accomplished was manifestly good and 
necessary ; and Hindus began to clamour for a similar in 
stitution under Hindu management. Hence the Hindu 
Widows Home Association was organized in Poona in 1896, 
and a Home was opened, which has steadily grown in strength 
and usefulness. During the year 1912 there were 105 in 
mates in the Home, of whom 95 were widows. The annual 
expenditure is now about 17,000 Rupees. 4 The whole insti 
tution seems to be thoroughly well managed by the founder, 
Mr. D. K. Karve. In 1906 a Boarding School for high-caste 
Hindu girls and widows was opened close beside the Home. 
Then in 1912 the Nishkdma Karma Matha (Monastery for 
Unselfish Work) was started for the purpose of creating a 
band of competent women workers to staff the Boarding 
School. I was able to visit these institutions in February 
last, and was much struck with the character of the buildings 

1 Cf. ISR., XX, 185, 296; and Indian Review, March, 1910. 

2 Social Reform in Bengal, 12. 

3 See The High-caste Hindu Woman, by Pandita Ramabai, New York, 
Revell. 4 Report for 1912 ; ISR., XIX, 596, 605 ; XX, 151, 2 6x, 


and the excellence of the arrangements. So far as I know, 
no widows home was founded by Hindus between 1896 
and 1906 ; but it was probably during that interval that 
the Deva Samaj, 1 the Arya Samaj 2 and the Digambara 
Jains 3 founded their homes. I have seen no reports of these 
institutions, and do not know the dates when they were 
founded. In 1907 a Hindu Widows Home was founded 
in Mysore City; and in 1910 there were thirty-two pupils, 
of whom seventeen were resident. The total cost was met 
by Rai Bahadur Narasimha lyengar. 4 The same year the 
Mahila Silpasrama, or Women s Industrial Refuge, was 
founded in Calcutta by Mrs. P. Mukerjee, a niece of Mr. 
Rabindra Nath Tagore. Over a dozen widows reside in it, 
and a number of others come from the outside to receive 
instruction. It is supported by public subscription, supple 
mented by Government and Municipal grants. 5 In 1908 
the Sikhs opened their Widows Home in Amritsar. In 
1910 Mrs. Pitt, the widow of an Indian civilian, opened a 
Widows Home in Bangalore, which is to be conducted on 
purely Hindu lines. It is intended to teach women the 
privilege of social service. 6 In 1911 a Home was opened in 
Dacca of which Mrs. Dutta is the Founder-Secretary. 7 In 
July, 191 2, a group of Hindus organized a Brahman Widows 
Hostel in Madras, and in September of that year the Govern 
ment of Madras undertook the bulk of the financial respon 
sibilities. It is too early to say anything about the success 
of this new venture. 8 

1 At Ferozpore and Bhatinda. 

2 One is at Jullundur. Chirol, Indian Unrest, in. 
8 In Bombay. 

*ISR., XX, 522. 

5 My informant is Mr. Hem Ch. Sarkar of the Sadharan Brahma Samaj. 

6 ISR., XXI, 26, 500. 

7 76., XXIV, 390. 

8 /&., XXIII, 532. 



From very early times the ladies of royal harems in 
India lived in something like seclusion, and wealthy families 
naturally copied kings in some degree. There was also a 
great deal of distrust of women expressed in Hindu law, 
and men were therefore bid guard their women with great 
care. Yet there was no general custom of shutting women 
up in the house. When, however, at the end of the twelfth 
century, the Muhammadan invasion came, two motives 
arose which combined to make the Hindus seclude their 
women. Their conquerors, who now held the highest 
social position in India, kept their women shut up in the 
women s apartments; and it was natural for Hindus to 
imitate them. Then, in the wild violence and lawlessness 
which characterized Muslim rule for centuries, Hindu 
women were unsafe, unless they were shut up and guarded. 
Hence all high-caste Hindus, living in provinces where Mu- 
hammadans were numerous and powerful, adopted the 
Zenana system. A high-caste woman to-day very seldom 
leaves the zenana. If she goes out, it is in the dusk of the 
morning or the evening, and only for a hurried visit to 
the temple or the river. On occasion she may go to the 
house of a relative for a wedding or some other important 
ceremony, but, if she do, she goes in a closed carriage or 
palanquin. Parsees and Jains adopted the custom as well 
as Hindus. In those parts of the South where Muham 
madan rule did not arise or did not last long, some of the 
old freedom still remains; and the women of the lower 
orders live a very free life. 

Christian teaching and Western example have made a 
very serious impact on educated opinion in this matter; 
and the women of the Brahma Samaj are now as free as 
Christian women; but the only other community which 


has stepped out into full freedom is the Parsees. But 
there has been a distinct and very welcome change amongst 
educated Hindus during the last twenty years. A small 
but increasing number in Calcutta and in Bombay take 
their wives and children out driving with them in the even 
ing ; and in every educated centre the women themselves 
are increasingly eager to meet European ladies socially, to 
gather together in little clubs and societies, and occasion 
ally to hold women s meetings and conferences. One sym 
pathizes with the fear lest a sudden change should do 
more harm than good ; but, without any doubt, progress 
in this matter might with safety be a good deal accelerated. 


Loud and bitter complaints are raised in many parts of 
India by Hindus about the extortionate payments de 
manded by the bridegroom s family from the father of the 
bride. The evil seems to be largely a result of the progress 
of Western education; for a young man who has done 
well at College is a most desirable bridegroom, and naturally 
the price has tended to rise as steadily as the demand. 
The tyrannical custom, which compels a father to spend 

mge sums upon feasting, processions and presents to 
Brahmans on the occasion of a daughter s wedding, presses 
very heavily on the poor. Most fathers are driven to 

>orrow huge sums, and, in consequence, pass the remainder 
of their lives in bondage and fear. 

Reformers have tried to mitigate these evils, but noth 
ing very substantial, except the action of the Walterkrit 
Sabha, 1 has to be chronicled. Quite recently in Calcutta, 
a father could see no way to raise money for his daughter s 
marriage except by mortgaging his home. The daughter, 

1 Above, p. 398. 


whose name was Snehalata, burned herself to death in 
her own room to release her father from the impasse. 1 
Her suicide roused intense feeling, and meetings were held 
to move public opinion, but with what result has still to 
be seen. 


In ancient Hindu Law-books twelve domestic samskdras 
or sacraments, are enumerated as binding on every Hindu 
of the Brahman, Kshatriya and Vaisya castes, and the 
details of the ceremonies are laid down in priestly manuals. 
Each is filled with polytheistic ideas and idolatrous prac 
tices ; so that modern men are inclined to object to them. 
Debendranath Tagore prepared a new set of ceremonies 
for Brahmas from which everything idolatrous was ex 
cluded, and Keshab carried the process still farther. 2 
The other Samajes have followed suit, but orthodoxy re 
mains orthodox. 


In Hindu literature of all ages, even in the Rigveda itself, 
wherever references to heaven occur, we find very frequent 
mention of the Gandharvas and the Apsarases, the former 
being male musicians, the latter female dancers and singers. 
The Apsarases are equally famed for their dazzling beauty 
and their easy morals. When some human ascetic carried 
his austerities to such a pitch that the merit due to him 
threatened to endanger the gods, the regular expedient 
was to send down one of these irresistible nymphs to draw 
him away from his self-torture. 

This is probably a reflection of the customs of Hindu 
Kings. Each had a troop of male musicians in his resi- 

1 ISR., Feb. i5th, 1914, 210. Two other cases followed. ISR., May i7th. 
2 Above, pp. 41, 43, 48. 


dence and companies of dancing and singing women of 
rather loose character. This custom is still kept up by 
Hindu princes. 1 

Every well-appointed Hindu temple aims at being an 
earthly reproduction of the paradise of the god in whose 
honour it was built. He and his spouse or spouses are 
there in stone, also his mount, his car, and all else that he 
needs. The Gandharvas are represented by the Temple- 
band, the Apsarases by the courtesans who sing and dance 
in the service. These are dedicated to the service of the 
god ; but they give their favours to his worshippers. They 
are usually called Devaddsis , handmaidens of the god, 
Hierodouloi; but in the Bombay Presidency each shrine 
has its own name for its women, Muralis, Jogavins, Bhavi- 
nis, Naikinis, Kalawantis, Basavis, 2 Devaddsis, Devalis, 
Jogtis, Matangis, Sharnis, Muralis being used in a general 
way for all. 3 They dance and sing in the temple-services 
and also when the images are carried out through the 
town in procession. Hence the common name for them 
everywhere is Nautch-girls, Dancing-girls. The songs 
they sing are usually obscene. They receive certain allow 
ances from the temple. Until recently they lived within 
the temple precincts, but now they usually occupy some 
street or lane close by. In North India they are not per 
manently attached to the temple. They live in the bazaar, 
practise music and dancing, and ply their trade. The 
temple-authorities hire as many as they require for each 
occasion. In some temples in the Bombay Presidency 
there are male prostitutes also. 

How foul the atmosphere is in which this custom thrives 
may be realized from the hideous sculpture visible on the 

1 V. Smith s Asoka, 89. 

2 Cf. Dubois, 133. 

3 Shinde s Muralis, 2 ; ISR., XXIII, 606. 


gates and walls of many Hindu temples in Central and 
Southern India and from the following quotation : 

And then again, it is not that only females are dedicated to 
the temples but also males who are called Waghyas of Khandoba ; 
Aradhyes of Ambabai, Potrajas of Dyamawwa, Jogyas of 
Yallamma, and who are forbidden to marry or to live the ordi 
nary civil life and therefore lead a more or less dissolute life. 
Their number however is not so considerable as that of the female 
victims nor is their looseness so noticeable. There is a third 
class of devotees, who are neither male nor female but are mostly 
eunuchs. These hideous beings are more indecent than im 
moral and they naturally follow the trade of procurers, pimps, 
and such other disgusting and un-natural practices. Whether 
they are for some wicked purpose castrated or born defective 
and how they come to be connected with the temples cannot be 
said ; but they are generally connected with the temples of the 
female deities Ambabai and Yallamma. Quite a number of 
them might be seen at any time loitering and dancing about 
the little temple of Bolai near the Sassoon Hospital in Poona. 1 

Courtesan ministrants, in precisely similar fashion, lived 
in the temples of Babylonia, Syria and Egypt, and took 
part in the ritual ; and thence the custom spread to Cyprus, 
the Greek islands and elsewhere. The Greek name for 
them was Hierodouloi, Sacred Slaves. 2 

To these facts is due the low estimate in which music 
and dancing, especially the latter, have been held in most 
countries of the East. Salome degraded herself to the 
level of a courtesan in dancing before Herod. The culti 
vation of music and dancing has never been a respectable 
art in India, but has always been left to Nautch-girls. 3 

A century ago these women were much more in the 
public eye in India than they are to-day. L Abbe Dubois 
writes : 4 

1 Shinde s Muralis, 4. 3 Dubois, 337. 

2 Art. Hierodouloi, ERE. * 585. 


Their duties, however, are not confined to religious cere 
monies. Ordinary politeness requires that when persons of 
any distinction make formal visits to each other they must be 
accompanied by a certain number of these courtezans. To 
dispense with them would show a want of respect towards the 
person visited, whether the visit was one of duty or politeness. 

Hindus have also been accustomed to hire them to dance 
and sing in their houses at weddings, on other festive occa 
sions, and even when entertaining European officials : 
their dancing and singing have been part of the programme, 
like the performances of jugglers. 

Missionaries have long protested in the name of morality 
and decency against the whole system, and have especially 
begged that European officials should give no countenance 
to such a thing. Brahmas and social reformers have 
joined in these protests. The presence of these women at 
the temple-services and in the great processions leads to a 
great deal of vice among young Hindus ; and their intro 
duction into the homes of the people on festive occasions 
has done endless harm. Their gestures in dancing are 
lewd and suggestive; and their songs are immoral and 
obscene. Many a man has spoken of the dire results such 
exhibitions have upon the young. 

Western example and education have had their influence 
upon the coarsest parts of Hinduism. The frightful 
obscenities which we hear about from eighteenth-century 
writers have almost altogether disappeared. What remains 
is bad enough, it is true ; but the grossest things have been 
removed. Dancing girls are much less prominent in the 
temples of the West and the North than they used to be. 

Lord Wenlock, who was Governor of Madras from 1891 
to 1896, was the first prominent official who distinctly 
refused to countenance the nautch. 1 His example has 

1 Kenneth S. Macdonald, 71. 


proved very powerful: so that nowadays one seldom hears 
of an English official consenting to be present on any occa 
sion when dancing-girls are present. The majority of 
educated Hindus have also given up the custom of having 
them in their homes at weddings and such like. This is a 
reform of very great value indeed ; and we may trust that 
in future things will go still further. 

In many parts of the country it is customary to marry 
a girl to an idol, a flower, a sword or some other material 
object, in order that she may be free from the entangle 
ments of a genuine marriage. 

In the year 1906 a large body of gentlemen, including 
many Hindus, approached the Governor of Bombay, call 
ing his attention to the whole practice of divine marriage, 
and praying that measures might be taken by the Govern 
ment to put down the dedication of girls to prostitution. 
The following is a brief statement : 

The Memorialists ask that the attention of the Police shall be 
called to the infrequency of prosecution, and that they shall be 
directed to show greater vigilance in bringing offenders to account- 
They request that public notices shall be posted in many places, 
and especially at Jejuri, where the temple of Khandoba enjoys 
an infamous pre-eminence in this destruction of innocent children ; 
and that temple-authorities shall be warned of their liability to 
prosecution as accessories to crime, if they permit such cere 
monies to take place within the precincts of the temple. 1 

In the following year the Bombay Government issued a 
resolution on the subject. They feel the need of action 
but recognize that it is impossible to do much until public 
opinion is riper. They promise, however, to prosecute 
temple-authorities who take part in the dedication of 
girls ; and they suggest that the Hindu community should 

1 Harvest Field, June, 1906. 


provide orphanages or homes in which girls rescued by 
Government may be placed. 1 

Two years later Sir George Clarke, Governor of Bombay, 
issued a proclamation, calling the attention of District 
Magistrates to the powers of the law and to the necessity 
of enforcing them seriously. 2 

The Mysore Government next took action. In 1909 
they issued an order, in which they prohibit the performance 
of any religious ceremony which has an intimate connection 
with dedication to the profession of a prostitute or dancing- 
girl. This prohibition applies to every temple under the 
control of the Mysore Government. 3 About the same time, 
the head of the Sankesvara monastery, a modern repre 
sentative of Sankaracharya, issued an order in which he 
declares that the custom of dedicating girls has not the 
sanction of any sacred book of the Hindus, and therefore 
must be put a stop to. 4 Later still the Travancore Govern 
ment took the matter up. 5 

But though the movement has thus made considerable 
progress, there are those who oppose it for various reasons. 6 
The first of these is the fear that the musical art may 
suffer if they are discouraged. How absurd this argument 
is, we need not say. Yet it had weight enough with certain 
Government officials to lead them to introduce dancing- 
girls into the Arts and Industries Exhibition at Allahabad 
in the winter of 1910-1911, and to give prizes to the most 
skilful of these artistes. 7 As one might expect in such a 
country as India, Government example at once led to 
serious results. Here is what the Rev. C. F. Andrews of 
Delhi wrote to the press on the subject : 

1 Indian Witness, August 15, 1907. 4 ISR., XIX, 565. 

2 ISR., XIX, 568. 5 ISR., XX, 461. 

3 Harvest Field, 1909, p. 190. 8 ISR., XX, 127 and 123. 

7 The Social Conference objected. See p. 393, above. 


An intimate friend of mine, who was know r n by all the city to 
refuse under any circumstances to be present at a wedding where 
a nautch was a part of the ceremonies, was asked a few days ago 
to a wedding, and was on the point of accepting it, when he 
discovered that a nautch was to be held. When he remonstrated 
with some indignation, saying that his own abstention from 
nautches was well known in the city, the reply was immediately 
made that now things were different. The Government itself 
was encouraging nautches, and one was being held every night 
at the Government Exhibition. 1 

Fortunately, the press of India, whether European or In 
dian, almost unanimously condemned the action of those 
who had charge of the Exhibition ; 2 and public opinion was 
so clearly expressed that we may hope that little final evil 
will come of it. 

Fortunately, Lord Morley s attention had been drawn 
to the whole problem ; and, on the 3rd of March, 1911, he 
addressed a despatch to the Government of India on the 
question : 

My attention in Council has lately been called to the various 
methods by which female children in India are condemned to a 
life of prostitution, whether by enrolment in a body of dancing 
girls attached to a Hindu Temple ; by symbolical marriage to an 
idol, a flower, a sword, or some other material object; or by 
adoption by a prostitute whose profession the child is brought 
up to follow. I observe with satisfaction that an increasing 
section of Hindu Society regards the association of religious 
ceremonies with the practice of prostitution with strong dis 
approval. In Madras, where the Institution of Temple Dancing 
Girls still survives, an Indian District Magistrate, Mr. R. 
Ramachandra Row, has expressed the opinion that Temple 
servants have been degraded from their original status to per 
form functions abhorrent to strict Hindu religion ; and in 
Bombay a society for the protection of children has been formed 
with the co-operation of leading Hindu citizens. 

1 From the Leader. See ISR., XXI, 292. 2 ISR., XXI, 306. 


I desire to be informed of the probable extent of the evil; 
how far the provisions of the Penal Code, sections 372 and 373, 
are in themselves sufficient to deal with it effectually, and 
whether in your opinion, or that of the Local Governments, ade 
quate steps are being taken to enforce the law as it at present 
stands, or whether any, and if so, what amendments of the law 
are required to give reasonable encouragement and suppress 
the grave abuse. The matter is one in which the weight of 
public authority may well be lent to the furtherance of reforms 
advocated by the enlightened leaders of the communities to 
which the children belong whom the law was intended to protect. 

The Society for the Protection of Children in Western 
India, which consists of men belonging to all faiths, keeps 
watch over the progress of events, and seeks to rouse 
public opinion, and to help Government in every way 
possible. The pamphlet on Muralis quoted above was 
published by them. 

As this book goes to press, the Government of India is 
passing a law for the better protection of girls. 

LITERATURE. Hindu Customs, Manners and Ceremonies, by J. A. 
Dubois, Oxford University Press. The Crown of Hinduism, by J. N. 
Farquhar, Oxford University Press. The Muralis, by V. R. Shinde, 
Bombay, Sharada Kridan Press, half an anna. Lotus Buds, by Amy 
W. Carmichael, London, Morgan & Scott. India and its Problems, 
W. S. Lilly, 231-237. 


In Ancient India, when the Hindu system took shape, 
it was the rule that every boy of the three highest castes 
should go to some teacher and spend several years in ac 
quiring a religious education. All girls, and all boys of 
every other caste or class, were by law excluded from this 
education. As the centuries passed, the percentage of 
those taking the religious education became less and less. 


Doubtless various systems of secular education were used 
from time to time, but none of them took deep root in 
the country. When the Muhammadans conquered India, 
Muslim education became the passport to government 
service and high social position. Here again it was only 
the few who were educated. 

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the illiteracy 
of India was almost complete. The number of those who 
received any education was exceedingly small ; and in the 
universal confusion of the times things were steadily get 
ting worse. It was the missionaries who began to give the 
people education. But what they gave them was not 
any Indian discipline, but a Western training, mediated in 
the schools by the vernaculars. A few European laymen 
soon began to help. Then Ram Mohan Ray perceived the 
facts of the situation, and became the champion of Western 
education. Government came round to the same point 
of view in 1835. 

The one large fact which we must keep firm hold of in 
thinking of education in modern India is, that Western 
education (which the country clearly must have) comes 
from an alien civilization and environment, and that in 
inoculating the community with this most necessary 
remedy considerable disturbance will inevitably be pro 
duced. This far-reaching fact is usually neglected alto 
gether by those who condemn modern education in India 
as a failure. 1 The comparison of the results of Roman 
education in the provinces of the Empire would lead men 
to a saner estimate of the factors at work. It is quite as 
necessary to keep this same truth in mind, if we are to 
understand why the education of boys grows so slowly in 
India. The conservatism of the people and their pitiful 

^ 1 Parts of Chirol s writing on education are weakened by a failure to take 
this most important fact into full consideration. 


poverty are certainly powerful retarding agents. Yet both 
taken together do not hamper progress nearly so much as 
the inherent antagonism of the religious systems to Western 
thought and life. 

Two very healthy symptoms may here be mentioned to 
cheer the reformer and the student. The first of these is 
Mr. Gokhale s bold attempt to secure universal education 
in India through Government action. The Bill which he 
laid before the Viceroy s Council was rejected; and, per 
sonally, I am inclined to believe it was well for India that 
it should be rejected ; yet the way in which the Indian 
press received the proposal showed that the educated 
class have travelled far in opinion these last twenty years, 
and that there is in them the possibility of still greater 
advance. The second healthy symptom is this, that 
competent Indian observers assure us that the last few 
years of extreme national interest and excitement have so 
stirred the common people in certain parts of India that 
there is now a keen desire for widespread education, and 
such a willingness to allow children to attend school as 
has not been known before. 

In 1902, 22.2 per cent of the boys of school-going age in 
India were at school ; in 1912 the percentage had risen to 29. 


The ancient ideal for high-caste Hindus was that, when 
children reached the age of eight to twelve, the boys should 
go to school, and the girls should be married. 1 The deep 
distinction here implied has not only been taught the 
Hindu people for two thousand five hundred years, but 
has been worked into their very nature and character by 
a series of institutions such as no other country has ever 
possessed. Girls have been married before reaching 

1 Crown of Hinduism, 93-94. 


puberty. Their husbands have been free to marry as 
many wives as they chose to have. No husband has 
eaten with his wife. The widow has been prevented from 
remarrying, while the widower has had severe pressure 
brought to bear upon him to induce him to remarry, if 
he was disinclined. For some fifteen hundred years, the 
Hindu widow was taught that the noblest thing she could 
do was to burn herself upon the pyre with her husband. 
For six hundred years, high-caste women have been closely 
shut up in the zenana. Finally there was another fact 
which told for a long time : 

Courtesans, whose business in life is to dance in the temples 
and at public ceremonies, and prostitutes are the only women 
who are allowed to learn to read, sing, or dance. It would be 
thought a disgrace to a respectable woman to learn to read; 
and even if she had learnt she would be ashamed to own it. 1 

This feeling does not tell so powerfully now as it did a 
century ago. 

When we take all these factors into consideration, we 
are not astonished to find that the proposal to give Hindu 
girls an education has made very little progress in the 
community. The whole Hindu scheme of things has 
operated to keep the people from giving their girls an 

It was missionaries who began the education of girls. 
They were followed, at a considerable interval, by a few 
European laymen, the Government, and the Brahma 
Samaj. Later still, the other Samajes, the Ramakrishna 
Mission and Theosophy began to help ; and now most 
Hindu organizations do something to further the cause. 
Progress is slow, yet while only 2.5 per cent of girls of 
school-going age were in school in 1902, there were 5 per 
cent in 1912. 

1 Dubois, 337. 



14. CASTE 

The main rules of caste which a Hindu has to observe 
relate to marriage, food, occupation and foreign travel. 
No man may marry outside his caste, and usually he is 
restricted to certain sub-sections of his caste, while, in 
many parts of India, sectarian distinctions narrow the 
range of choice still farther. Certain kinds of food are 
absolutely proscribed in each caste ; there are rules as to 
the caste of the person who may cook for the members of 
the caste ; no man may eat with a person of lower caste 
than himself ; and there are strict rules as to those from 
whose hands one may receive water. The occupation rule 
is in most cases very strict for low-caste people but very 
lax for the high castes. No Hindu may cross the ocean. 1 

The marriage rule is very strictly kept by all classes. 
There are very few, even among those who have had an 
English education, who dare to break the matrimonial 
rules; for they are the very foundation of caste observ 
ance. Not only the social reform organization but most 
of the sectarian unions 2 and the caste conferences 3 suggest 
that restrictions on marriage between members of sub- 
castes should be given up, but very little progress has yet 
been made. It is only the most advanced reformers who 
propose that distinctions of caste should be altogether 
neglected in marriage. 

The law as to what is legitimate or illegitimate in ^ the 
matter of diet must always have been subject to minor 
changes. Educated men living in the large towns take 
large liberties nowadays outside their own homes in this 
matter, but they are usually strict at home. Mr. Shridhar 
Ketkar, in the second volume of his History of Caste in 

i Crown of Hinduism, 163-166. 2 See above, pp. 291 ff. 

3 See above, pp. 308 ff. 



India, gives a very illuminating account of the state of 
affairs in the matter of diet in the Bombay Presidency. 1 

Until recent times the rule that a man must not eat with 
a person of lower caste than himself was upheld with the 
extremest stringency. In past days, people have beenj 
outcasted because they had smelt beef ! Even now in . 
certain localities orthodoxy is very strict. Yet Western 
thought and common sense are gradually telling on edu 
cated men. The Brahmas arejquUe^frj^e^Jn^ 
andjiioj>tj^m]>^^ Samaj are ready to 

dine not only with Hindus of aliygrade^butwltF^hr&Srrs, 
IVIu^ammaaalisajicT^iomgriers. Indeed social reformers 
airtencTtb seek liberty in this matter. The ordinary edu 
cated Hindu desires freedom, so that he may dine with old 
classmates and with Europeans who have been happily 
associated with him in public life, education or business. 
Yet many shrink back, and the mass of educated men still 
hold the orthodox position. There is much ground yet 
to be possessed. 

What may perhaps be described as the boldest action 
taken by social reformers in recent years was carried out in 
Bombay in November, ioj.2. Under the auspices of a new 
organization, called the Ajjanj^rotherhood, a Conference of 
peor^le_orjr3osed to caste was held from the gthTo^the^iJttrbf 
November, anoTctesed with a dinner at which one hundred 
and fifty men and women dined together, openly setting at 

, ,. -wv-*-xS^w^ * -N^--V_^^_S->. 

denan^e^m^Ja^s^^^a^te. Those who were present at the 
dinner had come from many parts of Western India ; and a 
considerable number of them found themselves outcasted, as 
soon as they returned to their homes. In several places, the 
ortiiodox^rjarty showed that they were determined to push 
things to the uttermost. It is well known that Brahmans 
of the highest rank who are counted orthodox take tea in 
1 Chap. VI. 


Irani shops in Bombay, and even occasionally dine quietly 
with Muhammadans or Europeans. So long as this is 
done secretly, nothing is said ; but a public defiance of all 
the rules of caste is another matter. Some of those out- 
casted yielded at once, and were reinstated after performing 
prayaschitta (an atonement ceremony), but others are 
holding out. It seems clear that this piece of bold action 
will produce good results. 1 

The rule that no Hindu may cross the ocean was im 
posed because it is clear that no Hindu can go to another 
country by sea and keep caste rules about food. When 
Ram Mohan Ray went to England, he sought to preserve 
his caste by taking a Brahman cook with him. The de 
sire to get an education in Europe or America has proved 
the most powerful motive leading to the breach of the 
rule ; but the exigencies of business have also proved 
effective ; and a few orthodox Hindu princes have yielded 
under the overwhelming desire to be present at some 
great state ceremonial in England. For a long time 
orthodoxy remained utterly implacable. The man who 
had crossed the ocean could not be received back into 
caste unless he underwent the prescribed atonement, 
prayaschitta, a most disgusting and barbarous ceremony. 
Those who would not pay the penalty were outcasted. 
Hence there grew up in Calcutta a small but interesting 
and influential community who, for the sake of education, 
had suffered excommunication. Most of them found 
refuge in the Brahma Samaj. For long the battle was 
most serious, 2 and in many parts of India it is so to the 
present day; but nationalism has triumphed in Calcutta. 
One of the most noticeable results of the unbounded excite 
ment of 1905-1907 was the creation of a society in Calcutta 
for the sending of Bengali students to Europe, America or 

1 ISR., XXIII, 49, 133, 139, 176, 233. 2 Ranade, Essays, 161. 


Japan to receive a modern education. So popular has the 
movement been and so powerful its leaders, that, when 
students return to Calcutta, they are received back into 
caste without any fuss. Quite recently the Bhatias of 
Bombay have split into two sections over the problem. 

The movement for the uplifting of the Outcaste is prob 
ably the most significant of all the facts that fall to be 
chronicled under the head of caste. But it has been 
already dealt with, 1 so that we need not touch it here. 


Many a Hindu has been reckless enough to declare that 
Europeans brought drink to India, and debauched a tee 
total nation. The facts are, however, that there has 
been a good deal of drinking in India since the very dawn 
of history. Priests and people in the time of the Rigveda 
were so fond of the drink called soma that they not only 
offered it to the gods as one of the best gifts they could 
give, but actually deified it. Soma is one of the leading 
gods of the Rigveda. From the Epics it is also evident 
that there was a good deal of drinking among the warlike 
tribes in the pre-Christian centuries. The laws of Manu 
show us that in settled Hindu life throughout North India 
various kinds of intoxicating liquor, drink shops, drinking 
parties and drunkards, were not uncommon; and the 
dramas corroborate this evidence. 

It is perfectly true that Hindu law for many centuries 
has been seriously opposed to the use of alcoholic drink; 
and high-caste Hindus, as a class, have been practically 
total abstainers. Yet even this general statement re 
quires to be qualified ; for in Bengal, at the great festivals, 
every family gives siddhi to visitors; and in the Left- 

1 Above, pp. 366 ff. 


hand Sakta Sect intoxicating liquor is one of the five 
tattvas used as means of salvation. Many of the lower 
castes have been accustomed to drink from time im 

Modern life, unfortunately, has done a good deal to 
introduce drink among the educated classes and to spread 
the drinking habit among the coolies on tea-gardens. It 
is probably true also that the planting of licensed liquor 
shops in the lower parts of the great cities of India has 
led to an extension of the drinking customs of the com 
mon people. 

There was thus ample room for a temperance propa 
ganda. A vigorous crusade was carried on for several 
years by Mr. W. S. Caine and a number of helpers, with 
the result that many Hindu castes were induced to give 
up drink altogether. The movement still continues to do 
good work, through the Churches, the Samajes, and 
Temperance Societies consisting of men of every faith. 
Besides using moral suasion with communities and indi 
viduals, these bodies do useful service by watching lest 
the action of the Excise Department lead to an increase 
in drink-shops and drinking, and by making suggestions to 
Government for the better control of the traffic. An 
Annual Temperance Conference is held in one of the great 


It was Keshab Chandra Sen who first suggested that 
the Brahma Samaj should copy Christians in the matter 
of philanthropy. All the Samajes have taken this up 
seriously. The Arya Samaj especially has done work of 
very great value in relieving the famine-stricken and those 
who suffered in the great Kangra earthquake. The Rama- 
krishna Mission has several times done fine service in re- 


lieving sufferers from flood, famine and pestilence. The 
Arya Samaj, the Deva Samaj and the Ramakrishna Mis 
sion all follow the lead of the Christian Church in doing 
medical work. The Brahma Mission on the Kasi Hills 
also gives medical help. 

But the new currents started by the great national 
excitement of recent years have helped to bring into 
existence a new type of effort which may yet prove of 
considerable value. For many years certain Christian 
Colleges and schools have led out their students into simple 
social service. Usually this has taken the form of schools 
for neglected tribes and castes, or simple medical relief; 
but, in recent years, the value of social work as training 
for the young Christian has been so clearly perceived that 
the whole subject has been carefully discussed, and many 
new lines of activity have been started. This Christian 
movement found articulate expression in an excellent book, 
Suggestions for Social Helpfulness, by the Rev. D. J. Flem 
ing, of Lahore. This volume is now out of print, but its 
place has been taken by a still better book, Social Study, 
Service and Exhibits, by the same author. 

During the last three or four years the movement has 
appeared in Government and Hindu Colleges; and it is 
steadily spreading. In most cases the work attempted is 
a school for Outcaste children. This service is being done 
by students of the Presidency College, Calcutta, by stud 
ents of the Central Hindu College, Benares, and by others. 
In some cases, careful social study has been started. For 
example, the students of Patna College, organized in the 
Chanakya Society, have surveyed the chief industries of 
Patna City, of Dinapore, of Mozufferpore and of some 
other places in Behar. In many centres the Young Men s 
Christian Association has organized groups of Hindus for 
social service along various lines. 


In close connection with the Servants of India Society s 
work there was started recently, under the Presidency of 
Sir N. G. Chandavarkar, the Social Service League, Bom 
bay. The objects of the League are : 

The collection and study of social facts; the discussion of 
social theories and social problems with a view to forming public 
opinion and securing improvements in the conditions of life, 
and the pursuit of social service. 

Only those who are prepared to work are received as 
members. A similar League, under the Presidency of 
Mrs. Whitehead, is working in Madras. 

LITERATURE. Social Study, Service and Exhibits, by D. J. Fleming, 
Calcutta, The Association Press, 1913, 10 as. The Theory and 
Practice of Social Service in India, by K. M. Munshi, Bombay, the 
Social Service League (a prize essay) . 


The movement for the reformation of the Criminal 
Tribes is scarcely parallel with the other efforts at social 
reform which we have just reviewed ; for, thus far, it has 
been almost exclusively the work of the Salvation Army 
and the Government; but it is a matter of so much im 
portance and interest, and fits so well into the chronicle 
of this chapter, that the story had better be told. 

The phrase Criminal Tribes is used strictly of tribes 
whose regular caste-occupation is some form of crime. The 
form of crime which a tribe practises is part of the caste- 
organization, and is carried on under very strict rules. 

1 I am indebted for much of my information on this subject to Mr. O. H. 
B. Starte, I. C. S., who travelled home on the same steamer with me in April, 
1914. He has been engaged during the last four years in establishing and 
controlling experimental settlements amongst the Criminal Tribes in the 
southern part of the Bombay Presidency. 


Thus, among the Ghantichors of the Bombay Presidency 
it used to be the rule that a young man could not marry 
until he had stolen a nose-ring off a woman s face. The 
same tribe is bound by another rule, that they must steal 
only by day : until quite recently, if a man stole by night, 
he was outcasted. The reason why these regulations are 
so well understood and so carefully observed is that they 
are to the tribesmen religious laws. In most cases the 
tribe holds that the gods have imposed their particular 
crime-occupation on them ; that, so long as they follow it 
in accordance with caste rules, they are true men and 
faithful to their religion; and that, if they were to give 
it up, the gods would wreak their displeasure on them. 
Hence, before starting out on a criminal expedition, they 
offer prayers to their divinity, and when they return, they 
dedicate to him a percentage of their spoils. The Chhap- 
parbands of the Bombay Presidency, for example, whose 
caste profession is the making of counterfeit coins, give 
i2\ per cent. Most of these tribes are Hindus, but some 
are Muhammadans; and amongst the Muhammadans it 
is usually to the shrines of the Pirs (saints) that they 
dedicate the stated portion of their gains. 1 

No trustworthy estimate of the numbers of these reli 
gious criminals can be given ; for no careful survey has yet 
been made. Some tribes are completely and dangerously 

1 The secret society of robber-stranglers known as Thags, which was put 
down by the British Government in the second quarter of the nineteenth cen 
tury (p. 17, above), was an organization conducted on the same principles as a 
criminal tribe, but it had a much wider basis. It was composed of both 
Hindus and Muhammadans, and the Hindus belonged to many different 
castes ; yet all took the same oaths, practised the same ritual and worshipped 
the same divinity, the goddess Kail. The date of its origin and the name 
of its founder are alike unknown. Doubtless it sprang into existence at 
some time when the Delhi Government was so disorganized as to give 
predatory gangs unusual opportunities for plundering. See Meadows 
Taylor, Confessions of a Thug, London, Triibner, is. 


criminal; others are less aggressive, part being actively 
criminal, the rest only passively so ; others are mixed, 
some sections being perfectly honest, others hardened 
criminals. But, though a definite census has not been 
taken, they are known to be very numerous ; for they 
are found in every part of India ; and we may be certain 
that the total population of those tribes which are com 
pletely and dangerously criminal is not less than 300,000. 
If they could be changed into good citizens, a large part of 
the Indian police force could be disbanded. 

The growing efficiency of the British Government, and 
two modern police-methods the taking of finger-prints 
and gang-prosecutions have broken the self-confidence 
of many of these tribes. They begin to find the resources 
of civilization too strong for them. They are in a chastened 
mood, and are thus in some degree prepared to respond to 
the suggestion that they should become honest men. The 
majority are willing to enter Settlements. 

Government is also, in a manner, pledged to go forward 
with their reclamation : such is the implication of the 
Criminal Tribes Act of 1911. 

Government Settlements for the purposes of reclama 
tion were tried at various times in the past, but with 
limited success. It is only during the last six years that 
results have been won which justify the hope that the 
further improvement of methods may lead to a complete 
transformation of these tribes. 

A. In 1908 work was begun in a small Settlement at 
Gorakhpur by the Salvation Army with Government help, 
and others have been opened since. The long experience 
the Army has had in dealing with the criminal class all 
over the world has prepared them for the task. Govern 
ment provides suitable buildings when such are available, 
or gives grants-in-aid for the erection of new buildings. It 


also gives a monthly grant for expenses, and in many cases 
provides land for cultivation. Trades, such as silk-reeling, 
carpentry, weaving, etc., are taught to many of the younger 
members of the tribes. The Salvation Army provides 
experienced officers of the right type of character. Their 
work has not been all success by any means; and they 
themselves confess that they are only learning how to deal 
with these difficult people ; yet such results have been won 
as to justify a wide extension of the effort. The Army 
have now 25 Settlements in India and one in Ceylon. A 
pamphlet by Commissioner Booth Tucker, called Crimino- 
curology, 1 gives a vivid account of their work. 

B. At the end of 1909 the Government of Bombay 
opened an experimental Settlement at Bijapur in the 
South of the Presidency, under direct Government super 
vision. In the beginning their efforts were confined to 
Chhapparbands, Harranshikaris and Ghantichors. At a 
later date work was opened at other centres. The method 
has two sides. The people live in a Settlement, and work 
is provided for them, either in the Settlement or outside, 
so that they may become accustomed to earning an honest 
livelihood. A considerable number of them have been 
placed in spinning and weaving mills, others have been 
taught masonry or carpentry. Experience has shewn that 
the members of the Settlement attain to a virility and 
knowledge of the economic value of their own labour 
much more speedily if work is found for them under in 
dependent employers than if work is provided directly 
under the Settlement authorities. Hence the present 
policy is to establish the Settlements in places where there 
is a keen demand for labour. They are kindly treated 
and helped in every possible way. But, in order that 
they may not slip away from discipline and return to 

1 Simla, The Royal Army Temperance Association Press. 


crime, they are registered and watched; and absconders 
are punished. 

Very encouraging results have been already won. An 
extension of the work is now contemplated ; but the ques 
tion is being considered whether, in order to obtain the 
necessary moral influence, some of the Settlements should 
not be controlled by voluntary agencies. 

The independent experience so gained fully corroborates 
the conclusions which Salvation Army Officers have reached 
as to the possibility of reclaiming these people and the 
methods to be employed. The provision of regular work 
for a considerable period of time under strict discipline, 
and the placing of them under the guidance of people of 
high character, who will treat them at once with the utmost 
kindness and the utmost firmness, and will use all possible 
moral suasion to change them, seem to be the principles 
which will lead to success. Government alone can bring 
to bear the pressure necessary to secure discipline, and 
private philanthropic effort alone can supply in a satis 
factory way the men and women needed for the moral 
side of the work of reclamation. 

The work is still mostly of an experimental nature, but 
the experiments now being carried on in different parts of 
India are leading to such definite conclusions that it is 
highly probable that the near future will see a very wide 
extension of the work. 

There are thirteen Salvation Army Settlements in the 
United Provinces, five in the Panjab, five in the Madras 
Presidency and two in Bihar and Orissa. The American 
Baptists in the Telugu country have one Settlement, and 
one is under the control of the Manager of a Mica mine. 
The Wesleyans in Benares are working among the Doms, 
a semi-criminal tribe. 

Arrangements are being made for the opening of more 


Settlements under private management. Hitherto only 
Christian bodies have been willing and able to undertake 
the task, and until quite recently the Salvation Army alone 
has had Settlements ; but long-established Missions, with 
their communities, Churches, Industrial Schools and Indus 
tries, and their knowledge of the local conditions, are in 
many respects in a position of great advantage for dealing 
with the problem, though at present they have not the 
experience of the Salvation Army. It may also be noted 
that the Panjab Government recently invited several of 
the leading Hindu and Muhammadan societies to take a 
share in the work. The problem is so large that there 
would appear to be ample scope for all suitable voluntary 
agencies to aid in its solution. 


I. The most prominent characteristic of the long series 
of religious movements we have dealt with is the steady 
adwnte^o^^ The earlier organizations 

were very radical indeed in the treatment they proposed 
for the troubles of the time, and adopted great masses of 
Christian thought and practice. But as the years passed, 
men found courage to defend an ever larger amount 
of the old theology, until a number undertook to prove 
every scrap of the ancient structure good. Hinduism, 
Islam, Buddhism, Jainism and Zoroastrianism each leaped 
up into new vigorous activity, every prominent sect ex 
periencing a mysterious awakening. Finally, under the 
impulse of national feeling, the tables were completely 
turned : not only the religions but everything Oriental 
was glorified as spiritual and ennobling, while everything 
Western received condemnation as hideously materialistic 
and degrading. An immense quantity of literature pours 
from the press, and considerable sums of money are 
subscribed for defence purposes, above all for sectarian 

v Hence the Hindu, the Jain, the Buddhist, the Parsee 
.and the Muslim are to-day filled with overflowing con 
fidence each in his own religion; a confidence which 
tends to be hostile to spiritual life as well as to a reason 
able estimate of the old faiths. Many a man has a pride 
in his tone, and shews an arrogance towards outsiders, 
which are scarcely characteristic of health, whether religious 



or intellectual. The Modern Review, perhaps the best and 
most representative of the monthlies at present, frequently 
contains a good deal of bombast ; and the youthful gradu 
ates who speak and write on Hinduism have usually far 
too much of Vivekananda s swagger about them. Hun 
dreds of men of the student class, under Dayananda s in 
fluence, believe that the ancient Hindus were as far advanced 
in the natural sciences 1 as modern Europeans are, and that 
they had invented not only firearms and locomotives but 
telegraphs and aeroplanes as well. 

Yet the arrival of the new spirit was necessary for the 
health of the country. The long decades during which 
not only the European but the cultured Hindu looked down 
upon the religion, philosophy and art of India effectually 
opened the door to the influence of the West, without 
which the Awakening would have been impossible; but 
they as effectually depressed the Indian spirit to a point 
at which the doing of the best work was impossible. Hence 
the return of self-respect was sorely needed ; and that has 
come since the twentieth century opened. 

II. But there is another aspect of the situation which 
requires to be clearly realized. The triumphant revival 
of the old religions, with their growing body-guard of 
defence organizations, has been accompanied by continuous 
and steadily increasing inner decay. This most significant 
of all facts in the history of these movements seems to be 
scarcely perceived by the leaders. They believe that the 
danger is past. This blindness arises largely from the fact 
that they draw their apologetic and their inspiration almost 
entirely from Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita, 
Dayananda and Mrs. Besant ; and it is clear that neither 
capable thinking nor clear-eyed perception can be bred on 
such teaching as theirs. 

1 P. 116, above. 


We shall here attempt only a very brief statement of the 
evidence for this inner decay in the case of Hinduism. 
While the apologists have been busy building their defences 
these last forty years, Western influence has been steadily 
moulding the educated Hindu mind and rendering it alto 
gether incapable of holding the ideas which form the founda 
tion of the religion. Hence we have many defences of 
idolatry but no faith in it. In spite of all that has been said 
in favour of the Hindu family, no educated Hindu has 
found any religious basis for pre-puberty marriage, for 
widow-celibacy, for polygamy, for the zenana. The 
modern man simply cannot believe that his dead father s 
spirit comes and eats the rice-cake offered at the srdddha, 
far less that his place in heaven is dependent on it. Much 
has been said to make caste seem a most reasonable form 
of social organization ; yet thinking Hindus no longer hold 
that which is the foundation of the system, the doctrine 
that each man s caste is an infallible index of the stage of 
spiritual progress his soul has reached in its transmigrational 
journey. The Depressed Classes Mission is clear proof 
that Hindus no longer believe that the Outcaste is a soul 
whose past record is so foul that physical contact with him 
is spiritually dangerous to the caste Hindu. What student 
believes that that is true of the European Principal and 
Professors of his college ? Yet, if these things are incredi 
ble, caste has no religious basis left. Then the Vedic 
Schools are dying. Asceticism is clearly dying. The 
great Sankaracharya founded four monasteries, at Sringeri 
in Mysore, at Dvarika in Kathiawar, at Badrinarayana 
in the Himalayas, and at Puri. In February last, at 
Rajkot, Kathiawar, I had a personal interview with the 
Sankara who is the head of the Dvarika monastery. In 
stead of a fine company of intelligent men studying the 
Vedanta, he has only some half a dozen boys of six or seven 


years of age as his disciples. They came marching into 
the verandah where we were seated, each little fellow dressed 
in a rough brown blanket and carrying the wand of a 
brahmachdri, and saluted the dchdrya. He also informed 
me that the Badrinarayana monastery is now extinct. 1 

III. The causes which have combined to create the move 
ments are many. The stimulating forces are almost exclu 
sively Western, viz. the British Government, English edu 
cation and literature, Christianity, Oriental research, Euro 
pean science and philosophy, and the material elements of 
Western civilization ; but the beliefs and the organization 
of the ancient faiths have been moulding forces of great 
potency. The Arya Samaj is an interesting example of the 
interaction of rationalism and modern inventions with 
belief in transmigration and the inerrancy of the Vedic 
hymns. The Deva Samaj shews us Western evolutionary 
science in unstable combination with Hindu guru-worship. 
Theosophy is a new Gnosticism which owes its knowledge to 
Western Orientalists but takes its principles from Buddhism 
and its fireworks from occultism. 

IV. While the shaping forces at work in the movements 
have been many, it is quite clear that Christianity has ruled 
the development throughout. Christianity has been, as it 
were, a great searchlight flung across the expanse of the 
religions; and in its blaze all the coarse, unclean and 
superstitious elements of the old faiths stood out, quite 
early, in painful vividness. India shuddered; and the 
earlier movements were the response to the revelation. But 
the same light which exposed all the grossness gradually 
enabled men to distinguish the nobler and more spiritual 
elements of the religions. Consequently the Hindu, the 

1 A great deal of evidence on the subject of the decay of Hinduism is 
gathered in the author s Crown of Hinduism, pp. 34, 42, 113-15, 148-51, 177- 
87, 191, 273-6, 334-9, 342, 421-4, 446-7. 



Jain, the Parsee and the Muhammadan set these in the 
foreground, crushed out the worst as far as possible, and 
sought to build up fresh organizations which should be able 
to bear the searching glare continually flung on them by the 
great Intruder from the West. Hence, while most of the 
material used in the reconstruction is old, Christian prin 
ciples have guided the builders. In every case the attempt 
is made to come up to Christian requirements. Frequently 
the outcome is extremely slender ; yet the purpose can be 
seen. Christianity has been the norm ; and no part of the 
most orthodox movement is fully comprehensible except 
when seen from the Christian point of view. 

i. Christianity has made men feel that the only possible " 
religion is monotheism. The Brahma, Prarthana and Arya t 
Samajes declare themselves as truly monotheistic as Chris 
tianity. Parsees and Muhammadans make the same claim. 
All the Saiva and Vaishnava sects, and also the Sikhs, urge 
that they are true monotheists ; yet their teaching recog 
nizes the existence of all the gods of the Hindu pantheon. 
Various forms of pantheism (for example, Theosophy, and 
the systems taught by Ramakrishna, the Radha Soamis 
and the Smartas of the South) demand recognition as 
monotheistic, on the ground that monotheism and panthe 
ism should be reckoned as synonyms. 1 Why should 
theological terms be used with pedantic strictness ? Finally, 
even in the case of atheistic forms of thought (for example, 
Jainism, the Buddhism of Ceylon and the teaching of the 
Deva Samaj) the vogue of monotheism is clear. People 
shrink from the word atheist. Individual Jains and Deva 
Samajists will affirm that all they mean is that they cannot 
see the necessity for a Creator ; while in Ceylon theistic 
phraseology is very common in all revival literature. 

1 Mr. Shridhar Ketkar says this frankly. See his Hinduism, its Forma 
tion and Future, 47. 


2. When this idea of the one spiritual God is held intelli 
gently, it necessarily excludes polytheism, mythology, idola 
try and man-worship. Face to face with this powerful 
conception, the modern religious movements of India fall 
into three groups. The first of these contains the Brahma, 
Prarthana and Arya Samajes. All these have been so 
deeply influenced by the idea that they hold it in compara 
tive purity, and, along with the Parsees and the Muham- 
madans, summon all men to give up these degrading super 
stitions. Next come the Radha Soamis, the Chet Ramls, 
and the members of the Deva Samaj, who, though they have 
given up polytheism and mythology, have succumbed to 
man-worship, and will doubtless be led on by it to idolatry. 
In the case of nearly all the other movements, there is a 
desire to remain orthodox : so that polytheism, mythology, 
idols and guru-worship are all retained. Yet the effect of 
Christian criticism is very noticeable. In most of the 
groups guru-worship, at least in its most degrading aspects, 
is carefully concealed. The modern thinking man is 
ashamed of it. Vivekananda and his fellow-disciples wor 
shipped Ramakrishna, but Christian influence led them to 
minimize it: "We offer him worship bordering on divine 
worship." In the case of idols, the need of an apologetic 
is seriously felt, and numerous attempts have been made to 
reach a reasonable defence, attempts about as successful as 
Aaron s explanation of how the golden calf came into exist 
ence. No thinking man to-day can accept a phallic symbol 
as a worthy representation of the God of the whole earth ; so 
Vivekananda asserted, without a vestige of evidence, that 
the linga is no phallus but a model of a sacred hill. The 
most pitiful allegorizations are put forward as defences of 
the mythology. In every case the apologetic confesses, 
in form, if not in words, that it is the Christian spirit which 
has to be faced. 


3. The Christian doctrine that God is the Father of men and 
that every man is a child of God, with its corollary, that all 
men are brothers, is accepted with practical unanimity in 
all the movements. In the Brahma and Prarthana Samajes, 
and by Sivanarayana, these doctrines are seriously accepted 
and made the basis of a new life. But the force and perva 
siveness of the teaching are seen still more clearly in the 
fact that in the case of all the other movements (with 
the exception of those which deny the existence of God) the 
doctrine is accepted and taught, even though other parts of 
the theology are radically inconsistent with it. The Saiva 
and Vaishnava sects claim the Fatherhood of God and the 
Brotherhood of Man as Hindu doctrines, and yet hold 
hard by the Hindu doctrine of the essential inferiority of 
woman and the Caste system with its inhuman laws for 
Outcastes and Mlecchas. Theosophists, Radha Soamis 
and Smartas, though they make the Supreme impersonal 
and unknowable, yet find themselves driven to call Him 
the Heavenly Father. The Christian doctrine of the love 
of God, which is a necessary element in the Fatherhood, 
passed into the teaching of the Brahma and Prarthana 
Samajes, and has deeply influenced most of the other 
movements. It has led to increased emphasis being laid 
on the doctrine of bhakti. The belief, that all men, as 
children of God, are brothers, and that morality may be 
summed up in the word brotherliness, has also worked 
wonders. Here is the secret of the strange fact that men 
who still hold by the doctrine of transmigration and karma 
feel increasingly that caste is wrong, and are being gradu 
ally driven, by their consciences, first to acknowledge that 
the untouchable Outcastes are their brothers, and then, 
more slowly and reluctantly, to receive them as such. The 
same belief has given Indians a truer idea of the vajue of 
the human personality and shews itself in the convic- 


tion that an Indian of any class is as great and valu 
able as a European, and in the new attitude to women and 
children. This fresh way of looking at every human being 
is implied in all the activities of the new Nationalism. 
Another implicate of the Fatherhood has made a tremen 
dous impression. Every modern religious movement in 
India calls itself the religion for all men. What a striking 
result this is in India becomes clear only when one recollects 
what an extremely exclusive religion orthodox Hinduism is. 
Yet even the superlatively orthodox Bharata Dharma Ma- 
hamandala makes the claim of universalism, and offers to sell 
to anyone the books which, according to Hindu law, must be 
seen by no woman and by no man outside the three twice- 
born castes. How is it that no such claim was ever made 
until Christianity appeared on the scene ? On the basis of 
human brotherhood Christ insists vehemently on the duty 
of kindly philanthropic service, and no part of His teach 
ing has produced larger results in India. Feeble attempts 
are made here and there to trace the teaching to Hinduism ; 
but all well-informed men recognize that it was introduced 
into India by Christian missions. This mighty force shews 
itself in every element of the social reform movement, but 
above all things in what Christians have done for the Out- 
castes, and in the rise of the movement among Hindus. 

4. The righteousness of God, as taught by Jesus, has also 
exercised a profound influence. The conception necessarily 
involves the Christian ideas of repentance, forgiveness, the 
transformation of character, the holy life and the passion 
for saving men. All these in their fulness were adopted by 
Keshab Chandra Sen ; those who follow him, both in Bengal 
and Bombay, still preach them ; and most of them may be 
traced in the exquisite cadences of Gitanjali. In all the 
other movements there has been a serious clinging to the 
conceptions of the old religion. Yet, modern men could 


not but seek to get rid of the filth, superstition and corrup 
tion revealed by the searchlight of Christ. Many of these 
things are exposed in the writings of Ram Mohan Ray, of 
givanarayana and of Dayananda. There has been a serious 
attempt, on the part of the orthodox, to destroy, to drive 
underground or to deny the worst features of Left-hand 
Saktism, temple-prostitution, temple-miracles, priestly 
fraud and corruption, and unclean superstition. Even 
Vivekananda acknowledges the presence of masses of super 
stition in Hinduism : 

The old ideas may be all superstition, but within these 
masses of superstition are nuggets of gold and truth. 

Mrs. Besant alone has had the courage to defend many of 
the gross superstitions which the honest Hindu is heartily 
ashamed of. On the other hand, it is now universally 
recognized that no religion is worth the name that does 
not work for spiritual ends and produce men of high and 
noble character. Hindus lay all the stress nowadays on the 
best parts of Hinduism, and make as little as possible of 
law, custom and ritual. There is no movement that does 
not set the Upanishads and the Gita in the foreground. 
So keenly is this felt in Jainism and Islam that, where the 
laws of the religion are external and old-world, modern 
apologists tell us that we must follow not the literal com 
mands but the spirit of Jainism, the spirit of Islam ; and 
there is many an orthodox Moulvie in India to-day who 
denies that the Koran allows slavery, polygamy or the kill 
ing of men who refuse to accept Islam. It is very signifi 
cant that the Deva Samaj and Madame Blavatsky unite 
in proclaiming to the world how many hardened criminals 
their particular doctrine has saved. 1 

5. Christianity insists that the worship of God must be 
1 Above, p. 181, and MPL, 265-6. 


spiritual, and therefore that animal and vegetarian sacri 
fices, ceremonial bathing, pilgrimage and self-torture ought 
to be given up. For the same reason worship ought to be 
conducted in the vernacular, so that it may be understood 
by the people ; otherwise it has little or no value for them. 
The Brahma, Prarthana and Arya Samajes have responded 
very fully to these ideals ; and the Radha Soami Satsang, 
the Deva Samaj and Sivanarayana have not fallen far 
short of them. A sort of simple non-conformist service in 
the vernacular has been the norm for all these bodies. 
Sacrifice, pilgrimage and ceremonial bathing have been 
completely given up. The spirituality of true worship 
also finds powerful expression in Gitanjali. The convic 
tion that prayer ought to be in the vernacular has led to 
fresh proposals among both Parsees and Muslims, although 
little result has followed. There have been a few attempts 
made to transform sacrifice to spiritual uses. Thus Keshab 
allegorized the homa sacrifice and the ceremonial waving of 
lights, called Aratl. In the Arya Samaj and in the teaching 
of Sivanarayana we find fire-sacrifice retained, not as part 
of the worship of God but as a means of purifying the air ! 
The other movements cling to old Hindu worship practically 
without change ; but cultured men are more than half 
ashamed of it ; the defences offered are very half-hearted ; 
and the details are frequently condemned by individuals. 

The Christian contention that sacred books can be of no 
value, unless they are understood by the people, has led all 
the movements, Jain, Sikh, Parsee and Muslim, as well as 
Hindu, to produce translations of the sacred books they use 
and to write all fresh books in the vernaculars. 

6. The Christian doctrine of the Person of Christ has been 
adopted in a modified form in a number of the movements. 
Keshab Chandra Sen is the most noteworthy instance; 
but, besides him, we note, in the Hindu sphere, the Chet 


Ramis and the Isamoshipanthis, and among Muhammadans, 
the Ahmadiyas and the Nazarenes. 

But much more important than these cases of direct 
acceptance of certain aspects of the Person of Christ is the 
indirect influence the doctrine has exerted. The most 
striking case of all is the prophecy of the Coming Christ 
which has caused such an upheaval in Theosophy. Next in 
importance is the increased emphasis laid during recent 
years on the Vishnuite doctrine of divine incarnations, and 
the altered form it has taken. The old animal incarnations 
are dropped out of sight, and all the stress is laid on Rama 
and Krishna, above all on Krishna. The reason for his 
prominence is to be found in his place in the Gitd. Krishna 
and the Gitd can thus be put forward as a satisfactory 
Hindu substitute for Christ and the Gospels. Hence, in 
order to make it possible to place Krishna on an equality 
with Christ, numerous attempts have been made to white 
wash his character as it is represented in the Epic and the 
Puranas, and many books have been written to prove the 
historicity of his life as it appears in the Mahdbhdrata. A 
similar motive led a Calcutta Hindu to publish a little 
devotional volume called The Imitation of Shri Krishna. 
It is worth noting also that the Radha Soamis call their 
Sant Satguru the Son of God. 

7. The most characteristic and vital of all Hindu doctrines 
is transmigration and karma. It is also more anti- 
Christian than any other aspect of the religion; for it 
involves not only the theory that each individual passes 
through many lives and deaths, but also the doctrines 
that a man s place in society is an infallible index of the 
stage of soul-progress he has reached ; that the suffering 
he undergoes is strictly equivalent to his past sins ; that 
women are born women because of former sin, and widows 
are widowed for the same reason ; that to seek to ameliorate 


the social condition of an individual or a tribe is futile, 
since the exact amount of the misery or happiness each man 
will suffer or enjoy is inevitably fixed by his karma ; that 
Caste is the only right form of society, because social grades 
are divinely proportioned to human desert; that divine 
forgiveness is impossible ; and that, since God stands apart 
from karma, He is necessarily actionless. So powerful and 
pervasive is the doctrine that there is scarcely a part of the 
religion that has not been modified by it. How potent 
then has Christianity been in controlling the religious 
thought of the past century ! The doctrine has been ex 
pelled completely from the teaching of the Brahma and 
Prarthana Samajes ; and everywhere else it has been deeply 
wounded. Every aspect of the social reform movement is a 
direct attack upon it ; and indeed each of the social impli 
cations of the doctrine is rapidly losing its hold. Men revere 
the doctrine to-day but do not understand it. To them it 
is merely an explanation of the inequalities of life ; but no 
educated Hindu is ready to follow even that line to the end. 
8. In all the movements we trace a strong desire that 
their leaders should be like missionaries, that their priests 
and teachers should be men of training, of high moral 
character and spiritual power. Each body desires to give 
its teachers a modern training in theology, so that they 
may be able to teach the people and to defend the system 
from outside attack. The great majority of sadhus, 
priests and gurus are recognized as being worse than useless. 
Apart from the Brahma and Prarthana Samajes, very few 
of the movements have been able to secure trained leaders. 
One hears everywhere that there is great difficulty in 
getting good preachers. All the clever young men want to 
enter secular employment. The sectarian movements have 
organized examinations and offered prizes to stimulate 
study ; while the Parsees, the Jains and the Muhammadans 


are making serious attempts to organize modern systems of 
theological training. 

9. A peculiarly arresting proof that Christianity has 
ruled the whole religious development of the last century is 
to be found in the Social Reform Movement. From begin 
ning to end the ideas that have led to reform have been purely 
Christian, and have had to win their way in face of the 
deepest conceptions of Hindu theology and social organiz 
ation. Buddhist and Jain teaching are quite as hostile, 
and Islam also, in most cases. All this shines out so con 
spicuously in our sixth chapter that we need say no more 

10. The dominance of Christianity in the religious devel 
opment of the last hundred years may be clearly seen in 
this that, almost without exception, the methods of work in use 
in the movements have been borrowed from missions. This 
is the more noticeable since India, in the past, had the 
genius to produce a series of methods of religious propa 
ganda unmatched in the history of the world. 

The schools of the priests, which at quite an early date 
were thrown open to the three twice-born castes, is the 
first method of Hinduism. In them arose most of the 
greatest literature of the religion ; and, for well-nigh three 
thousand years they dominated the mind of India. When 
the passion for release from transmigration awakened the 
early Hindus to philosophic inquiry, there appeared the 
second method, groups of wandering monks (and nuns 
also), who practised and taught their respective ascetic 
theories of release. All the forms of Hindu philosophy 
were propagated in this way. The same is true of Bud 
dhism and Jainism, except that in these movements monas 
teries appeared at an early date, and greatly eased the 
rigours of asceticism. In mediaeval days there appeared 
the third method, the wandering monk with his commen- 


tary on the Vedanta-sutras , challenging to debate any one 
who had a rival theory of the Vedanta, or a rival philosophy 
and retiring from time to time to a monastery to study and 
write. Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhva are the best 
examples. The fourth method appeared very early in the 
Tamil South, an emotional devotee, poet, musician and 
singer, wandering from shrine to shrine, using only the 
vernacular, singing and dancing in ecstasy, or swooning 
away in rapture before the idol which he adored. Rama- 
nanda was the creator of the fifth method, which proved very 
successful in North India, the wandering preacher and 
theologian, fit to meet scholars, but ready to preach to the 
people in their own tongue, and always ready to put his 
prayers and meditations into pithy vernacular verse. This 
type, known as the Bhagat (i.e. the Bhdgavata, the devotee 
of the Lord, Bhagavan) , might be a monk, like Ramananda, 
or a married man, like Nanak or Tulsi Das. Chaitanya was 
a Brahman, who had been a brilliant figure in the schools ; 
but he introduced into the North the ecstatic singing and 
dancing of the South. 

It is very remarkable that no single movement in our 
days uses these remarkable methods. We have seen no 
new Sanskrit commentary on the Vedanta-sutras. No 
vernacular poet moves from shrine to shrine dancing and 
singing, followed by crowds of enraptured devotees. Day- 
ananda and Ramakrishna were monks ; but in neither case 
did any organized movement appear until monastic modes 
of effort had given place to missionary methods. Keshab 
introduced Chaitanya s dancing and singing in to the Brahma 
samaj, but they are of no service to-day as modes of 
propaganda. Only modern forms of effort are efficient. 
The occultism of the new Theosophy is the one outstanding 
method at present in use which is not missionary in origin, 
and, as far as one can see, it is not Indian either. 


On the other hand, every sort of missionary method and 
organization has been copied. A modern movement be 
longing to whatever religion is in almost every detail a 
replica of a mission. Many of the methods are old, having 
been long in use in Europe and America, but many are quite 
fresh, developed to meet the peculiar circumstances of 
modern India. We shall merely give a list of the more 
notable of the methods copied, and leave readers to carry 
the inquiry farther themselves. The modes of congrega 
tional worship, the educated ministry, preaching, lecturing, 
pastoral work, prayer meetings, itinerancy, conferences, 
make the first group. Sunday schools, Bible classes, 
Young People s Societies, Bands of Hope, social gatherings 
and other forms of work for young people make another. 
The principles and methods of the mission school and col 
lege, girls schools, boarding schools, hostels, industrial and 
technical schools, schools for the blind, the deaf and dumb, 
orphanages, widows homes and zenana visitation, form 
the educational group. All forms of medical work, and 
also the Christian leper asylum, have beeen copied. Work 
among the Outcastes and the wild tribes is one of the most 
noticeable of all cases. Literature of every type, in English 
and the vernaculars, for men, young men, women and 
children, forms another group. Philanthropy and social 
service can escape no one s notice. Every movement has 
copied the Y. M. C. A., and a few have tried to reproduce 
the Salvation Army. The very names used by Christians 
are adopted and used by non-Christians. The whole 
movement is a Revival; the work is conducted by Hindu, 
Arya or Muslim Missionaries; and on many of them the 
title Reverend is conferred ; Vivekananda organized a 
mission, and many others have followed him ; Glta Classes 
are conducted ; Prayer Meetings are held ; and Young Men s 
Hindu (or Arya, Jain, Muslim, Buddhist) Associations 


are organized ; and the language of the Bible and of Chris 
tian prayer is on every lip. 

V. After the evidence we have already adduced none 
need be gathered to show that Christ s parable of the leaven 
is proving itself true in India. Sir Narayana Chandavarka 
of Bombay, in the following words, speaks out what many 
recognize to-day : 

The ideas that lie at the heart of the Gospel of Christ are 
slowly but surely permeating every part of Hindu society and 
modifying every phase of Hindu thought. 

VI. Every student will notice how remarkably close the 
parallel is between the revival of the ancient religions of 
the Roman Empire in the early Christian centuries and 
these movements in India in our own days. The similarity 
is far greater than we have been able to bring out in our 
pages, since our studies run on other lines. A number of the 
salient points have been already touched on in fugitive 
papers by different writers ; but the subject is well worth 
working up into a monograph. 


1. H. P. Blavatsky and the Masters of the Wisdom, by Annie 
Besant. Theosophical Publishing Society, London. 1907. 

2. Episodes from an Unwritten History, by Claude Bragdon. 
Rochester, the Manas Press. 1910. 

3. Incidents in the History of the Theosophical Society, by 
Joseph H. Fussell. Point Loma, California, the Aryan Theo 
sophical Press. 

4. A Historical Retrospect of the Theosophical Society, by H. S. 
Olcott. Madras, published by the Society. 1896. 

The first purpose of this Appendix is to give readers some idea 
of the extreme unreliability of the historical literature of The- 
osophy, and the second is to show the publishers of these books 
that they are thoroughly inaccurate and misleading, and on that 
ground to appeal to them, to withdraw them from circulation. 

i. H. P. Blavatsky and the Masters of the Wisdom. 

a. "In August, 1851, we find her in London, and there, on a 
moonlight night, as her diary tells us, beside the Serpentine, 
I met the Master of my dreams. He then told her that he 
had chosen her to work in a society, and some time afterwards, 
with her father s permission, she went into training for her 
future mission, passing through seven and ten years of proba 
tion, trial and hard work." P. 7. 

"On November lyth, 1875, she founded, in pursuance of the 
order she had received, the Theosophical Society." P. 10. 

Here we have the Theosophic myth at work. For the whole 
of the stupendous story of her intercourse with these "Masters" 
Madame Blavatsky never produced any trustworthy evidence. 
There is only her own bare assertion. She has never given any 
definite geographical information to enable scholars to find the 
Lodge of the Brotherhood in Tibet or the vast libraries which 



she asserts exist there. Since those days Sarat Chandra Das, 
a Calcutta Hindu, has travelled in Tibet, visited libraries and 
talked with many monks. The British expedition sent by Lord 
Curzon actually went to Lhassa; so that Tibet is now well 
known. Two of the most honoured Hindu scholars in Calcutta, 
Pandit Hara Prasad Sastri and Pan (lit Satischandra Vidya- 
bhushana have wandered all over the hills within British territory, 
visiting monasteries and libraries. They have brought many 
Mss., both Sanskrit and Tibetan, to Calcutta. How is it that 
there is not a scrap of corroboration of Madame Blavatsky s 
wonderful story ? No one knows anything about the existence 
of the Masters, their Lodge or the Libraries. 

On the other hand, as we have shewn above, in Madame 
Blavatsky s own letters there is overwhelming evidence to prove 
the whole false. 

In the passages before us we are asked, on the evidence of 
an entry in Madame Blavatsky s "diary," to believe that she 
was guided by the Masters from 1851 to 1875. Now, wnat are 
the facts ? The " diary" is no diary at all, but a book of drawings. 
If it were a real diary ; if it provided us with information which 
enabled us to understand Madame Blavatsky s early life ; and 
if the passage referred to were an integral part of the narrative, 
and demonstrably written in 1851 ; then it would be solid evi 
dence. But the passage quoted is the only entry in the whole book. 
No one can tell when it was written. What then is its value as 
evidence ? Simply nil. It may have been written by Madame 
Blavatsky at any time during the last twelve years of her life. 
But how are we to characterize Mrs. Besant s audacity in call 
ing the book in question a diary ? 

b. "Before dealing with the communications received during 
a short time in the famous Shrine at Adyar, it is necessary to 
describe the rooms which afterwards became famous. Madame 
Blavatsky occupied two out of three rooms of the upper story, 
opening on to a large hall. There was a sitting-room, which 
opened into a bedroom, and this again into a third room ; the 
wall between the bedroom and this third room was made of two 


partitions with twelve inches between them, lightly built, there 
being no support below, and with a door in the middle, the door 
being thus sunk in a recess. This third room was set apart for 
occult purposes, and was called the Occult Room. On the 
partition wall, loosely hanging, was a cupboard, originally over 
the door, in which were placed two pictures of the Masters, 
a silver bowl, and other articles; the cupboard had a solid 
back and shelves, and was merely hung on the wall, so that it 
could be removed easily. This cupboard was called The 
Shrine. The wall was smoothly plastered over, and various 
people after it had been tampered with by the Coulombs 
bore witness to the fact that at least up to February lyth, 1884, 
H. P. B. left Adyar on February yth it was intact. Gen 
eral Morgan states that he first saw the Occult Room in August, 
1883, when he visited Adyar in Madame Blavatsky s absence, 
and, probably in consequence of a remarkable phenomenon that 
happened on his visit, he examined the Shrine and its surround 
ings with great care; he aflSrms that, up to January, 1884, 
when he left the headquarters, any trickery was impossible. " 
Pp. 20-21. 

The authoress goes on to quote a number of similar state 
ments made by Mrs. Morgan, Col. Olcott and several other 
Theosophists with regard to the Shrine ; and she repeats her 
main affirmation about it again : 

"Mr. Hodgson did not see the cupboard, and Dr. Hartmann, 
who did see it, and examine it, says it had a solid unmovable 
back, and this is confirmed by others." P. 44. 

Now what are the facts with regard to these large masses of 
evidence ? They have been already given, but may be sum 
marized as follows : 

(i) Every scrap of this evidence is quoted from the pamphlet, 
Report of the Result of an Investigation into the Charges against 
Madame Blavatsky, which contains the statements of Theoso 
phists written (in response to the circular of August, 1884) before 
Mr. Hodgson arrived in India, but not published until February, 
1885. P. 249, above. 


(2) It was compiled in the main by Dr. Hartmann, Madame 
Blavatsky s "liar, cunning and vindictive." P. 248, above. 

(3) In September, 1884, five months before the pamphlet was 
published, the Shrine was examined by Judge, Dr. Hartmann 
and other Theosophists, and the sliding panels were found. 
Pp. 241-2, above. 

(4) Three of these Theosophists removed the Shrine, and 
Judge burned it. Pp. 241-2, above. This is the amazing fact 
which is necessary to explain Mrs. Besant s statement that 
"Mr. Hodgson did not see the cupboard," and which she most 
carefully suppresses. Neither the discovery of the panels nor 
the burning of the Shrine is mentioned in the pamphlet, Report 
of the Result, etc., though it was published five months later. 

(5) When Hodgson asked Dr. Hartmann and Damodar about 
the Shrine, they said they did not know what had happened to it, 
and suggested that it had been stolen by the missionaries or the 
Coulombs. Pp. 247-8, above. 

(6) Most of the people whose testimony Mrs. Besant quotes 
were questioned by Mr. Hodgson personally, and acknowledged 
that they had never examined the back of the Shrine, thus repudiat 
ing all the evidence which Mrs. Besant quotes. Each of the 
following singly confessed this to Mr. Hodgson, thus proving 
that their statements printed in the pamphlet were at the least 
very careless declarations : Mrs. Morgan, Mr. Subba Row, 
Mr. Damodar, Mr. P. Sreenevasa Rao, Mr. T. Vijiaraghava 
Charloo (Ananda), Babajee, Mr. P. Rathnavelu, Mr. T. C. 
Rajamiengar. The details of their confessions are given by 
Mr. Hodgson (Proceedings, IX, 220-226; 325-341). He adds 
with reference to Mr. St. George Lane- Fox, "Mr. Lane-Fox 
desired my special attention to the fact that an excessive super 
stition was attached to the Shrine by the natives. The feeling 
with which they regarded it would absolutely interfere with 
any careful investigation of either the shrine or its surroundings " 
(Ib., 327). Dr. Hartmann himself agreed with this statement 
(/., 226). Thus Mr. Hodgson could find no evidence that any 
one examined the Shrine before September, 1884. 

(7) On March 13, 1885, about a month after the publica- 


tion of the pamphlet, Dr. Hartmann confessed, in the presence of 
Mr. and Mrs. Cooper-Oakley, Mr. A. O. Hume, and Mr. Hodg 
son, that "nobody was allowed to touch that d shrine" ; and 
he then told the story of the discovery of the panels and the 
burning of the Shrine. These facts were effectually concealed 
from Hodgson until that date. Pp. 250-1, above. 

(8) Mme. Blavatsky confessed to Mr. Hodgson that the Shrine 
was made with three sliding panels in the back. P. 251, above. 

(9) Dr. Hartmann confessed that his pamphlet was untrust 
worthy, and gave Mr. Hodgson a written statement about the 
Shrine, which is quoted above. Pp. 251 and 241, above. 

(10) In April, 1885, the pamphlet was publicly repudiated in 
The Madras Mail by the Theosophic leaders. Pp. 253-4, above. 

How then shall we characterize Mrs. Besant s statement of 
the evidence as to the Shrine ? 

c. Mrs. Besant quotes in extenso a letter written by Mr. A. 0. 
Hume to the Calcutta Statesman, in September, 1884, with refer 
ence to the letters handed over by Madame Coulomb. We need 
quote only the last sentence, which is as follows : 

"Parts of the letters may be genuine enough; one passage 
cited has a meaning quite different from that in which I see that 
the Times of India accepts it, but believe me, Madame Blavatsky 
is far too shrewd a woman to have ever written to any one, any 
thing that could convict her of fraud." P. 37. 

Now it is quite true that Mr. Hume sent this letter to the 
Statesman; but Mrs. Besant omits altogether to tell her readers 
that, within a few months, his mind changed completely. This 
fact was published by Mr. Hodgson twenty-two years before 
Mrs. Besant wrote her booklet : 

"When the Blavatsky-Coulomb letters were first published, 
Mr. Hume expressed his opinion publicly that Madame Blavat 
sky was too clever to have thus committed herself; latterly, 
however, and partly in consequence of the evidence I was able 
to lay before him, he came to the conviction that the letters in 
question were actually written by Madame Blavatsky." Pro 
ceedings, IX, 274. 


Mrs. Besant declares she studied Mr. Hodgson s Report care 
fully : does not her action in this case, then, come as near wilful 
misrepresentation as possible ? 

d. "Mr. Hodgson, the gentleman sent by the S. P. R., was 
present at this memorable Convention Meeting of December, 
1884, the Colonel, in the innocence of his heart, extending to him 
a warm welcome. Mr. Hodgson s appearance of friendship was, 
however, a mere pretence to cover his real aim ; he simulated 
honest inquiry only the more surely to destroy." P. 40. 

Dr. Hartmann and Mr. Judge charged the Coulombs with 
forgery and the missionaries with hatching a conspiracy. Mrs. 
Besant now charges Mr. Hodgson with shameful treachery ; and 
if we accept this charge, we must believe that the Society for 
Psychical Research were from beginning to end duped by this 
dishonest scheme. But, apart from these considerations and 
from Mr. Hodgson s own statement and behaviour, how are we 
to characterize Mrs. Besant s conduct in publishing this foul 
slander twelve years after the publication of A Modern Priestess 
of Isis, in which Madame Blavatsky herself says that Hodgson 
was at first a friend ? (P. 248, above.) 

e. "Mr. Hodgson, in his Report, publishes a plan of the 
Occult Room with shrine and surroundings (from measurements 
taken by R. Hodgson, assisted by the statements of Theosophic 
witnesses). On page 220 Mr. Hodgson says that the accom 
panying rough sketch, made from measurements of my own, 
shows the positions. The reader will now see why I laid stress 
on the fact that Mr. Judge had, in the summer of 1884, bricked 
up the hole, plastered the wall, and then re-papered it; this 
having been done in the summer of 1884, how could Mr. Hodgson 
have made a rough sketch of the positions from his own measure 
ments in the spring of 1885 ? It may be asked : How then did 
Mr. Hodgson obtain his plan? The answer is simple; Mr. 
Judge gives it. He said : I made a plan of how it had been 
left by Coulomb, and that plan it is that Hodgson pirated in his 


report, and desires people to think his, and to be that which he 
made on the spot, while looking at that which he thus pretends 
to have drawn. All that Mr. Hodgson could have seen was a 
blank wall. I reprint here the comment I made in Time on this 
remarkable proceeding : I venture to suggest that the pirating 
of another person s plan, with " measurements " of things that 
no longer existed when Mr. Hodgson visited Adyar, is not con 
sistent with good faith. Yet the whole terrible charge against 
Madame Blavatsky rests on this man s testimony. The Society 
of Psychical Research, which has taken the responsibility of the 
report, has no knowledge of the facts, other than that afforded 
by Mr. Hodgson. Everything turns on his veracity. And he 
issues another man s plan as his own, and makes imaginary 
measurements of vanished objects. >: P. 43. 

This attack is practically the same as that published by Mrs. 
Besant in Time in 1892. Mr. Hodgson replied in detail to the 
attack in Proceedings, XXIV, 136-141, issued in June, 1893. 
He not only shewed that all the minor charges were unjustifiable, 
but published a copy of the only plan of the Shrine made by a 
Theosophist which he ever saw. It had appeared in the Report of 
Observations, etc., a pamphlet published by Dr. Hartmann in Sep 
tember, 1884. (See above, p. 240.) This must be the plan Mrs. 
Besant refers to, as the pamphlet was prepared and issued during 
the time when Mr. Judge was in Madras. This plan is repro 
duced above (plan A, page 234), with Mr. Hodgson s plan (plan B) 
beside it, that readers may see with their own eyes how utterly 
absurd it is to say that the latter was copied from the former. 

Yet here we have Mrs. Besant repeating the old attack in 
1907, without the slightest reference to Mr. Hodgson s complete 
disproof of the slander, and without a single scrap of evidence, 
except the statement of Judge, to substantiate the charge. 

Further, Judge, on whose testimony Mrs. Besant relies, 
is the man who had to do with the removal and burning of the 
Shrine, and he is the man whose frauds and forgeries Mrs. Besant 
and Colonel Olcott discovered in 1894. (See above, pp. 241-2, 
268-71.) What sort of a witness is he ? 

Now, if the plan republished by Mr. Hodgson is not Mr. 


Judge s plan, Mrs. Besant is in honour bound to publish Mr. 
Judge s one, that the world may see that Mr. Hodgson plagia 
rized it. But if the reproduced plan is Mr. Judge s plan, then 
will not Mrs. Besant withdraw from publication this cruel and 
baseless slander on the dead ? 

/. " Mr. Hodgson s third charge is that certain letters alleged 
to be from the Mahatma Koot Hoomi were written by Madame 
Blavatsky, or in some cases by Damodar." P. 48. 

" The before-mentioned experts varied together as to the au 
thorship of the letters submitted to them ; first they said they 
were not done by Madame Blavatsky ; then, this not satisfying 
Mr. Hodgson, they said they were. As against this valuable 
opinion of theirs maybe put that of Herr Ernst Schutze, the Court 
expert in caligraphy at Berlin, who gave evidence on oath that 
the letter of Master K. H. has not the remotest resemblance 
with the letter of Madame Blavatsky, and who wrote: I 
must assure you most positively that if you have believed that 
both letters came from one and the same hand, you have laboured 
under a most complete mistake. : P. 48. 

This statement looks very convincing at first sight ; but let 
us set the facts around it and see what becomes of it. 

When Mr. Hodgson got a number of these letters submitted 
to him, he found that the penmanship varied in them a good 
deal. He then placed them as far as possible in chronological 
order, when it became plain that the early letters retained many 
of the characteristics of Madame Blavatsky s handwriting, while 
in the later examples a number of these characteristics were 
eliminated. Studied as a series, they at once suggest that all 
are by the same hand and that there had been a progressive 
differentiation of the handwriting. 

It was merely several small slips of writing belonging to this 
lengthy correspondence, conducted in a disguised hand, which 
were submitted to the English experts, and which they declared 
had not been written by Madame Blavatsky. When the long 
chronological series was submitted to them, they recognized 


the progressive differentiation and came to the conclusion that 
all were written by Madame Blavatsky. 

Now to come to the German expert. Mr. Sinnett tells us 
(Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky, 323-4) that the 
documents submitted to him were a Koot Hoomi letter of 
September, 1884, and a letter written by Madame Blavatsky in 
October, 1885. Now it had been suggested many months before 
this latter date that Madame Blavatsky had written the letters 
in question. Clearly, if the expert was to make his examination 
under scientific conditions, a letter written by Madame Blavat 
sky before the question arose should have been given him for 
comparison. How could he judge a question of handwriting, 
if the accused was given an opportunity of resorting to disguise ? 
Further, Mr. Hodgson gives a number of facts which clearly 
suggest that Madame Blavatsky attempted the same trick with 
him. Proceedings, IX, 281, 290-1 ; XXIV, 148-9. Thus the 
German expert s verdict is worthless, simply because the evi 
dence was not submitted to him. 

The English experts, on the other hand, had before them 
specimens of Madame Blavatsky s writing dating from before 
the Coulomb exposure, and also a considerable number of K. H. 
letters of various dates. They thus worked under scientific 
conditions, while the German expert did not. 

Again we remark that all these facts are detailed by Mr. 
Hodgson (Proceedings, IX, 282 ff. ; XXIV, 147-149) ; yet Mrs. 
Besant ignores them entirely, and indeed suggests by her lan 
guage that there are no such material facts. 

No one would say that the mere opinion of experts on the 
handwriting would be sufficient to settle the question of the au 
thorship of these letters. As we have shown above (pp. 256-9), 
several other lines of proof combine to indicate that they were 
written by Madame Blavatsky and her immediate disciples. 

We have submitted only a few fragments of Mrs. Besant s 
booklet to examination. Limits of space alone prevent us from 
carrying the process farther. The bulk of the rest of the material 
is quite as rotten as the portions we have reviewed. 


2. Episodes from an Unwritten History. 

This work is in the main dependent on No. i, and we need 
not deal with the corresponding passages here. But to give some 
idea of the utter unreality of the story we shall quote two 
passages : 

a. " The work designated to Judge by the Founders was 
magnificently performed, and notwithstanding his secession 
from the parent society in 1895, taking with him most, though 
not all, of his colleagues, his name rightly ranks first, after those 
of the two Founders, among the great workers and leaders in the 
Theosophical cause." P. 25. 

What must be the condition of the Theosophic conscience 
which writes such a panegyric of Judge ? See above, pp. 241-2, 

b. Writing of Madame Coulomb, this author says : 

" Prince Harisinghji of Kathiawar, to whom she had applied 
on more than one occasion for two thousand rupees, tired of her 
importunities, complained at last to Madame Blavatsky, who 
promptly put an end to an intolerable situation by dismissing 
from her service Madame Coulomb." P. 42. 

This last statement is absolutely false. See the evidence 
produced above (p. 236), shewing that the Coulombs were left 
in full charge of Madame Blavatsky s rooms. 

3. Incidents in the History of the Theosophical Movement. 

In the discussion of the Madras exposure this pamphlet is 
dependent on Mrs. Besant, and repeats the gross and baseless 
slander about the plan of the shrine-room (pp. 452-4, above). We 
need not deal with it again. But there are other slanders : 

a. " It was afterwards learned and published in the Madras 
Daily Mail that the missionaries of the Madras Christian College 
had offered to pay Mme. Coulomb a thousand rupees to procure 
certain letters of Madame Blavatsky." P. 7. 

This is utterly false. See the facts on p. 246 n., above. 


b. " Both M. and Mme. Coulomb later, when their actions 
were exposed, confessed to this plot." P. 7. 

Could a grosser slander be conceived ? Madame Coulomb, 
so far from confessing to a plot, instituted a lawsuit in defence 
of her character (p. 252, above), and when it became impossible 
to proceed with it, published a long letter in The Madras Mail, 
stating her position once more with the utmost emphasis (p. 254, 

4. A Historical Retrospect of the Theosophical Society. 

a. Writing about Judge, Olcott says : 

"In the autumn of 1893, charges had been made against this 
officer s character, a widespread and intense excitement had 
resulted, and a majority of the Sections were urging me to remove 
him from office. A Judicial Committee was convened at London 
in 1894 to try the charges, but adjourned without doing so 
because of certain technical points which were put forward and 
held to be good. The discontent was not allayed by this action 
but greatly increased, feeling ran high, an overwhelming major 
ity of the American Branches stood by him, and an angry dis 
cussion was carried on within and outside our own press. This 
was the state of affairs when the Ninth Annual Convention of 
the American Section met at Boston, Mass., on the day specified. 
The Delegates almost in a mass made Mr. Judge s cause their 
own, and voted to secede from the parent Society and organize 
as an independent society." P. 17. 

What sort of a historical account is this of the amazing events 
we have outlined above (pp. 268-71) ? Olcott here simply keeps up 
the policy of concealment agreed upon in the Judicial Committee. 

We appeal to all who read these pages, Theosophists, re 
viewers and the general public: Is it not high time that the 
Theosophical Publishing Society, London, the Manas Press, 
Rochester, U. S. A., the Aryan Theosophical Press, Point Loma, 
California, and the Theosophical Society, Madras, should with 
draw these most unhistorical publications from circulation ? 


acharya : 
astral : 
bhakti : 
bhashya : 
chela : 

mantra : 

mleccha : 

Moulvie : 

pandit : 

purda : 
sadhu : 
Saiva : 
samskaras : 
sannyasi : 

satguru : 
s raddha : 
svami : 
Vaishnava : 
zenana : 

scholar, theologian, minister. 

belonging to the astral world, see p. 195. 

devotion, love for God. 

commentary, especially on the Vedanta-sutras. 

celibate student. 


ten orders of sannyasls, organized by Sankaracharya 
and named from the danda or beggar s stick which 
each sannyasi carries. 

a Hindu teacher, worshipped as God. 

a short expression, prose or verse, used as a sacred 
utterance, and believed to possess mystic power. 

a name used by Hindus for foreigners, like the 

Greek barbaros and the Jewish Gentile. 
a Muslim theologian. 

the most sacred of all mystic syllables in use among 


a learned man, especially learned in language. 
a title conferred on a sannyasi of high philosophic 

and religious attainments. 

a word meaning curtain, used instead of zenana, 
a word used for any modern Hindu ascetic. 

domestic ceremonies, 
a celibate monk, see p. 73. 
real, true, 
true guru. 

Hindu ancestor- worship. 
lit. lord, a title conferred on sannyasls. 
the women s apartments in an Indian house. 



Abanindra Nath Tagore, 382. 
Adam, W., 34. 
Adepts, 280. 
Adesh, 50. 

Adi Brahma Samaj, 44, 46, 69-70; 
_ creed, 71, 186. 
Adi Granth, 337, 341. 
Advaita Sabha, 305. 
Aga Khan, the, 99. 
Age of Consent Act, 24, 390, 397. 
Agnihotri, S. N., 118, 173-82; por 
trait facing p. 177. 
Ahmadlyas, 137 ff., 148-50. 
Aksakoff, A. N., 209, 211, 212, 214, 

215, 216, 217, 260. 

Alcyone, 276, 289; the A. case, 276. 
Aligarh College, 23, 93, 99, 333, 348, 


All-India Suddhi Sabha, 323. 
Amritsar, Golden Temple at, 338, 341. 
Anarchism, 28, 355-64. 
Andrews, C. F., 360, 412-3. 
Anglo-Muhammadan College, see Ali 
garh College. 
Animal torture, 15. 
Anjuman-i-Himayet-i-Islam, 148, 347. 
Anjuman-i-Naumania, 351. 
Anquetil du Perron, 8 n. 
Anthroposophical Society, 276. 
Anti-cow-killing agitation, in, 359. 
AratI, 58, 179. 
Aravinda Ghose, 362. 
Aryan Brotherhood, the, 419-20. 
Arya Samaj, 26, 101 ff., 316, 320, 324, 
423, 433, 435, 439; the founder, 
101 ff., and see Dayananda Saras- 
vati ; foundation, 109-10 ; creed, 
120-1; ethics, 121 ; sources of 
ideas, 115; religious services, 122-4; 
fire-sacrifice, 121, 123, 439; edu 
cation, 124, 125-6; work for De 
pressed Classes, 125, 371, 374; 
Widows Home, 404; famine relief, 
390, 422 ; criticism of other religions, 

113, 122; organization, 124-5; 

schism, 124; strength and weakness 

of system, 127. 
Atheism, 175, 181, 324, 434. 
Atmaram Pandurang, 76. 
Atmlya Sabha, 31. 
Automatic writing, 220, 225. 
Avalon, Arthur, 305 n. 
Avesta, 8 n., 82, 85, 344. 
Awakening of India, 5, 13. 

Baba BharatI, 296. 

Badrinarayana Monastery, 433. 

Bankim Chandra Chatterji, 295. 

Banurji, K. C., 67. 

Barendra Ghose, 362. 

Basava, 301. 

Basava Puranas, 302. 

Bentinck, Lord, his policy, 17, 387 ; 
abolition of sati, 12, 17, 33, 387, 401 ; 
reforms, 17 f., 387, 395; decides in 
favour of English education, 18. 

Besant, Mrs., 208, 210, 309, 357; 
becomes a Theosophist, 267; ac 
cepts Judge s missives, 268; goes 
to India, 268; action on the Judge 
case, 268-71, 285; success in India, 
271; action with regard to Mr. 
Leadbeater, 273-7; becomes Presi 
dent, 273; her occultism, 282 ff. ; 
defence of Madame Blavatsky, 
259-60; 447-55; defence of Hin 
duism, 277, 287-9, 438; statements 
about Christianity, 272, 274, 289-91 ; 
books, 271, 272, 275; character, 
277; portrait facing p. 195. 

Bethune, Drinkwater, 15, 388. 

Bettalay, Michael, marries Madame 

Blavatsky, 221. 
Bhagat, 443. 
Bhagavadgitd, 7, 207, 288, 295-6, 364, 

438, 440. 

Bhandarkar, Sir R. G., 76; portrait 
facing p. 76. 




Bharata Dharma Mahamandala, 136, 
316-23, 349, 437. 

Bharata Dharma Mahaparishad, 316. 

Bharata Jaina Mahamandala, 334. 

Bharata Mahila Parishad, 394. 

Bharatvarshiya Digambara Jain Ma- 
hasabha, 330. 

Bhupendra Nath Dutt, 358, 362. 

Bible, the, in the Brahma Samaj, 45. 

Bijoy Krishna Gosvaml, 47, 294. 

Bipin Chandra Pal, 30, 359, 362. 

Blavatsky, Madame, 27, 208, 438; 
birth, 21 1 ; childhood, 211; mar 
riage, 21 1 ; bigamy, 221-2; im 
morality, 211-3; her son, 213; 
myth of her virginity, 209, 213, 
260; her pretended widowhood, 
222; wanderings, 211 ; spiritualism, 
211, 212, 213-20, 222; settles in 
America, 214; Russian correspond 
ents, 209; founds Theosophical 
Society, 218-9; her interests, 222-3; 
her capacities, 220-1, 265 ; goes to 
India, 226; settles in Bombay, 226; 
travels in India, 228; her phenom 
ena, 228; the Mahatmas, 27, 209, 
227; the Koot Hoomi letters, 
231-2; settles in Madras, 232; 
rooms at headquarters, 232, 234-5; 
journey to Europe, 236; the Cou 
lomb affair, 237 ff . ; returns to 
India, 244; leaves India finally, 
252-3; occultism, 261; books, 
222-5, 261-4; literary ethics, 223-5; 
appearance, 264-5; portrait facing 
p. 195 ; character, 260, 265-7 , 
death, 264. 

Blavatsky, N. V., 211, 211 n., 221. 

Blavatsky-Coulomb letters, the, 213, 
238-40, 244, 245, 246 n., 251, 256, 

Bombay Native Education Society, 74. 

Book of Dzyan, The, 261-2. 

Bormhos, 134. 

Boycott of British goods, 365. 

Boy-marriage, 399-400. 

Bragdon, Claude, Episodes from an 
Unwritten History, 447, 456. 

Brahma Dharma, 41. 

Brahma Marriage Act, 48, 53, 389. 

Brahma Samaj, 307, 320, 339, 384, 
405, 419, 435, 436, 439, 441 ; founded 
by R. M. Ray, 22, 34; the building, 
35 ; almost dies, 39 ; revived by 
D. N. Tagore, 22, 39-40 ; inspiration 

of the Vedas, 40; organization, 39; 
prayer, 40; K. C. Sen, 22; phi 
lanthropy, 42; social reform, 41, 
42, 43, 49; first schism, 44; second 
schism, 54; relation to Christ, 39, 
42, 45, 45-6, 58-68; rationalism, 
41; dress, 48; cult, 34, 39; work 
for Khasis of Assam, 7 1 ; members 
of Samaj outside Hindu society, 
38; Adi B. Samaj, 46; Sadharan 
B. Samaj, 38, 55 ; New Dispensation 
Samaj, 55. 

Brahma Samaj, Lahore, 173 ff. 

Brahma Samaj of India, 46. 

Brahma Sankar Misra, 165. 

Brahma Sena, 174. 

Brahmavddin, 207, 299. 

Brahma Vidalaya, 42. 

Brahmopdsand, 40. 

British Government in India, 2, 5, 
6, 8, 14, 16-9, 23-4, 28, 31, 53, 92, 
143-4, 356, 363, 364, 379, 387-8, 
395, 397-8, 401, 402, 411-4, 424-9, 
433; rise and purification, 5, 6, 12; 
attitude to Hinduism, 9, n, 17; 
to Missions and Christianity, 7, 
8-n, 15; to reform, 17-9, 24; to 
education, 18; taken over by the 
Crown, 17, 19; religious neutrality, 

British Indian Association, the, 93. 

Brooch miracle, The, 228-31. 

Brotherhood, the great white, 227. 

Brotherhood of men, as taught by 
Theosophists, 225, 286, 288. 

Buddhism, 4. 

Budha Dal, 338. 

Caine, W. S., 422. 

Cama, Hormusji, 344. 

Cama, K. R., 85 f., 343, portrait fac 
ing p. 76. 

Carey, Wm., 6, 10, 14. 

Caste, 15, 29, 33, 42, 43, 44, 79, 101, 
115, 127, 128, 181, 184, 308-10, 328, 
332, 337, 340, 342, 371, 377, 388, 
389, 391, 393, 418-21, 432, 436. 

Caste Conferences, 308-10. 

Catholic Missions, 5 n. 

Central Hindu College, 271, 275, 276, 
352, 400, 423. 

Central Hindu College Magazine, 288. 

Chaitanya, 30, 47, 198, 293-4, 443- 

Chaitanya literature, 293-4, 385. 

Chaitanya methods, 47, 293. 



Chaitanya sect, 292, 293-6. 

Chakra, 304. 

Chandavarkar, Sir N. G., 77, 445; 
portrait facing p. 76. 

Chet Ram, 150 ff. 

Chet Ramls, 150 ff., 435. 

Chhapparbands, 425, 427. 

Chief Khalsa Diwan, 341, 343. 

Childers, 25. 

Child-marriage, 15, 48, 79, 83, 86, 87, 
115, i2i, 127, 184, 342, 380, 388, 
389, 394, 396-9, 398, 416, 432. 

Chirol, Sir V., 358, 359. 

Christ, teaching, 32, 59; character, 
595 teaching on sin, 60; attitude 
to social life, 60; in Theosophy, 
272-291; Christology, 33; of Kes- 
hab, 56, 62-8, 439; of Mirza 
Ghulam Ahmad, 139-45, 439 1 of 
Nazarenes, 43_9; of Chet Ramls, 
I 54, 439; of Isamoshipanthls, 439; 
fulfils Hinduism, 62. 

Christian Creed, The, 272. 

Christian influence, in general, 5, 34, 
35, 36, 61, 75, 127-8, 134, 137, 149, 
182-5, 3ii, 34, 35i, 385-6, Chap. 
VI, 443-5; through English edu 
cation, 20, 24-5, 39, 74-5 ; through 
work among Depressed Classes, 24, 
366-75; in Brahma Samaj, 32-3, 
39, 42, 43, 45, 46, 48, 56, 57-68, 69 ; 
Prarthana Samaj, 76; Arya Samaj, 
108, 123; Deva Samaj, 181 ; Ra- 
makrishna Mission, 188, 194, 199; 
Theosophy, 272, 274-5, 276, 289-91; 
Chaitanya sect, 294-5; Bharata 
Dharma Mahamandal, 322-3; 
among Ahmadfyas,_ 138-46 ; Chet 
Ramls, 151-6; Isamoshipanthls, 
156; Jains, 329; Muslims, 94, 96-7 ; 
Parsees, 84, 346; Radha Soamis, 
172; in Social Reform and Service, 
377, 378, Chap. VI; influence of 
missionary methods, 39, 125, 127, 
128, 179, 271, 278, 343, 377, 378, 
4*5, 417, 424-9. 

Clairvoyance, 223, 265, 274, 283, 286. 

Colebrooke, 16. 

Coleman, William Emmette, 210, 

223-5, 258, 262-4. 

Condemnation of Hinduism, Bud 
dhism, and Indian civilization, 267, 
288, 356, 43i. 

Condemnation of the West, 204, 205, 
345, 358, 363, 430. 

Conditional immorality, 181. 
Confessional of the Deva Samaj, 178, 

Coomaraswamy, Dr. A. K., 383, 


Cooperative Credit Societies, 378. 
Cornwallis, 6. 
Coulomb, Madame and M., 213, 226, 

236, 241, 242, 243, 245, 252, 254, 

266 n., 456, 457. 
Councils Act, 28, 362. 
Criminal Tribes, 424-9. 
Criminal Tribes Act of 1911, 426. 
Criminocurology, 427. 
Cunningham, 21. 

Curzon, Lord, 28, 356-7, 361, 365. 
Cyclone in Calcutta, 43. 

Dalhousie, Marquis of, 19, 388. 

Darnodar, 236, 237, 238, 241, 242, 247, 

Dancing, 47, 198, 409. 

Dandls, 105. 

Danish Missionaries, 6, 14. 

Darbhanga, Maharaja of, 317, 319. 

Dar-ul-ulum of Deoband, 351. 

Dar-ul-ulum of the Nadwat-ul-Ulama, 

Davis, Andrew Jackson, 211, 215. 

Dayananda Anglo-Vedic College, 124. 

Dayananda Sarasvati, 26; Autobi 
ography, 101 ff. ; birth, 102; edu 
cation, 102; loses faith in idols, 
102 ff. ; resolves not to marry, 105 ; 
runs away from home, 105; be 
comes a sannyasl, 105, 443 ; interest 
in yoga, 105, 106; his blind teacher, 
106; begins to teach, 108 ; methods, 
108; languages used, 107, 109; 
controversial methods, 109, 112-3, 
122, 316, 340, 351; visits Calcutta, 
109, 187, 194; influenced by Brahma 
Samaj, 109; _visits Bombay, 76, 
109; founds Arya Samaj, 109-10; 
in Lahore, no; beliefs, 105, 106, 
107, 113-6; aims, 111-13; social 
reform, 389; connection with Theo- 
sophical Society, no, 226; Cow- 
protecting Association, in, 358; 
teaching about the Vedas, 113-9, 
127, 183; ideas about science, 115, 
116; his diplomacy, 119; criticism 
of other religions, 113, 122, 137, 
438; of Western civilization, 115, 
116, 118, 119, 357, 358, 431; polit- 



ical ideas, in, 112; works, 109, 
in, 114, 121-2; death, 124; por 
traits facing p. 109. 

Dayaram Gidumal, 380. 

Debendra Nath Tagore, 22, 39-41, 
42, 43, 44-45, 383, 4>7; Autobiog 
raphy, 70; portrait facing p. 44. 

Decay of old religions, 431-3- 

Dedication to religious prostitution, 

Defence of the old religions, 26, 
Chaps. Ill, IV, 287-8. 

Depressed Classes, 3, 310, 366-75; 
Christian Missions among D. C., 
24, 366-8, 371, 389, 437; the effect 
of Christianity on them, 367-8, 
369, 370; other forms of help, 81, 
125, 179, 342, 378, 389, 390, 392, 
423, 437; Hindus and the D. C., 
370-5; uprising of D. C., 368-70, 
311-3, 314-6; the conscience of 
India, 372, 436. 

Depressed Classes Mission Society, 
81, 372-5, 432. 

Devadasis, 9, 310, 383, 407-14, 417. 

Deva Dharma, 175, 176. 

Devalaya, 187. 

Deva Samaj, 26, 173-82, 423, 433, 
434, 435, 438, 4395 founded, 175; 
name, 175; work for Depressed 
Classes, 179, 374; Widows Homes, 

Deva Sdstra, 176, 180. 

Dev Ratan, 181. 

Dhala, Dr., 88 ff. 

Dharma Mahamandali, 316. 

Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.? 272. 

Digambara Jain Conference, 329. 

Digambara Jains, 325, 326, 329-30, 

Digby, John, 31. 

Domestic Ceremonies, 41, 388, 407. 

Dubois, L Abbe, 3, 8 n., 13, 409 

Duff, Dr., 18, 19 f., 33, 39, 40, 388; 
his theory of Christian education, 

Dwarka Nath Tagore, Prince, 22, 34, 
39 ; portrait facing p. 39. 

East India Company, 2, 6, n, 15. 

Economics, 365-6. 

Educated Indians, 21, 24, 25-6, 28, 

354-5, 365, 366. 
Education, Western, 18, 21-2, 24-5, 

415, 4335 Missionary E., 14, 19, 

20; Government E., 18, 21-2, 24-5; 

of girls, 20, 48, 49, 55, 79, 99, 126, 

309, 348, 388, 392, 394, 416-7. 
Elavas, 310. 

"Eliphaz Levy," 220, 221. 
Elphinstone, Mountstuart, 15, 74. 
Elphinstone College, 74, 83. 
Emancipation of women, 48, 49, 86, 


Esoteric Buddhism, 231, 258-9. 
Esoteric Christianity, 272. 
Esoteric School of Theosophy, 210, 

260, 261, 271-2, 282, 287. 
Esoteric Section, 282. 
Etheric Record, the, 272, 278. 

Famine Code, 23. 
Famine of 1876-9, 24, 366-7. 
Famine relief, by missions, 21, 367; 
by Government, 23 ; by others, 42- 

48, 202, 390. 

Fergusson College, Poona, 376. 
Fine Art, 382-3. 
Funeral expenses, 309. 
Fussell, Incidents in the History of the 
Theosophical Society, 447, 456-7. 

Gabars, 85. 

Gaekwar of Baroda, 399. 

Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, 383. 

Gandhi, M. K., 380. 

Garrett, Edmund, 270. 

Ghantichors, 425, 427. 

Gitanjali, 384-6, 437, 439- 

Gokhale, the Hon ble G. K., 370, 371, 

375, 376-8o; portrait facing p. 376. 
Golden Temple of Amritsar, 338, 341. 
Gopinath, 317. 
Gorakshini Sabha, in. 
Corn Old, W. R., 264-5, 260-70. 
Gospel of Barnabas, 140. 
Gospel of Sri-Rdmakrishna, 188, 194. 
Govindacharya Svaml, 297. 
Govind Singh, 337. 
Granth Sahib, 337, 338. 
Great White Brotherhood, 227, 280. 
Griswold, Dr. H. D., p. vii, in, 

117 n ., 137 n., 150 n. 
Gupta Sabha, 75, 388. 
Gurudwara, 169. 
Gurukula, 126. 
Gurumukhl, 336. 
Gurus, 3, 162-8, 177, 179, 283, 336; 

the dominance of Theosophical 

gurus over their pupils, 284. 



Guru-worship, 50, 101, 131, 169-70, 
176, 177, 179, 182, 184, 199, 274, 
289, 301-2, 336, 435 ; forms of wor 
ship, 170, 179, 302. 

Gyananandaji Svami, 316, 317-9. 

Gyanls of the Sikhs, 340, 341. 

Harmony of religions, 56, 57, 186-7, 

197-9, 203, 282. 
Harranshikaris, 427. 
Hartmann, Dr., 237, 240, 241, 242, 

243, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 253. 
Hastings, Warren, 6, 7. 
Havana, 123. 
Havell, E. B., 382-3. 
Hermetic philosophy, 219. 
Hierodouloi, 407-14. 
Hindu Education Mission, Mysore, 


Hindu methods, 442-3. 
Hodgson, B. H., 21. 
Hodgson, Richard, 210, 231 n., 244- 

52, 255, 256, 259, 452-4. 
Homa, 58. 

Home the Medium, 222, 225. 
Hook-swinging, 9. 
Human sacrifice, 15, 17, 388. 
Human torture, 15, 127, 439. 
Hume, A. O., 228, 250, 450-1. 
Hypnotism, 168, 265, 283, 286. 

Idolatry, 3, 19, 29, 40, 41, 101, 102-4, 
109, 113, 115, 121, 127, 131, 173, 
203, 316, 324, 326, 331, 332, 336, 
338, 340, 341, 388, 389, 435- 

Imitation of Sree Krishna, 295, 440. 

Incarnation, doctrine of, 121, 168, 
336, 338. 

Indian Ladies Conference, 394. 

Indian National Congress, 26, 355, 
362, 378, 391. 

Indian Social Reformer, 309, 320, 

Indian Society of Oriental Art, 382. 

Indian Sociologist, 359. 

India Society, 382. 

Infanticide, 15, 17, 337, 388, 395-6. 

International Jain Literature Society, 

Iranian Association, the, 90. 

Isamoshipanthls, 134, 156. 

Isis, 260. 

I sis Unveiled, 222-5, 256. 

Isis Very Much Unveiled, 270. 

Islamia College, Lahore, 348. 

Isvara Chandra Vidyasagara, 22, 42n., 
388, 402. 

Jaini, J. L., 325, 335. 

Jainism, 4, 324-35, 405, 434- > 

Jain Young Men s Association, 329, 

Jami Jamshed, The, 346. 

Jangamas, 301, 302; jangama-wor- 
ship, 302. 

Japji, 336. 

Jelihovsky, Madame, 209, 213. 

Jesus in Theosophy, 272, 274-5, 290. 

Jones, Sir W., 7. 

Judge, W. Q., 210, 218-9, 240, 243, 
249, 259, 268-71, 285; burns the 
shrine, 241-2, 452-4; forges letters 
from Morya, 268-71, 456, 457. 

Kabir, 168, 170, 172, 336. 

Kali Charan, 134-5. 

Kanchi Subba Raoji, 292. 

Keshab Chandra Sen, belonged to 
Chaitanya sect, 47, 249; youth, 
41 ; joins Brahma Samaj, 22, 41 ; 
made acharya, 42 ; character and 
genius, 55; religious life, 46-7, 51; 
advocates social reform, 22, 42, 48, 
388, 407; philanthropy, 22, 42, 
422 ; in Bombay, 42, 76; in Madras, 
42; first schism, 43-4; visit to 
England, 48; autocracy, 50; guru- 
ism, 50, 69; doctrine of adesh, 50, 
52, 54; asceticism, 51-2; meets 
Dayananda, 109; relations with 
Ramakrishna, 50-51, 56, 57; sym 
bolic picture, 58, 198; the Kuch 
Bihar Marriage, 53-4; second 
schism, 54; New Dispensation, 55, 
56; relation to Christ, 22, 42, 43, 
45, 56, 58-68, 437 ; to Hinduism, 
56-8, 439; to all religions, 56, 57; 
calls God Mother, 58; inconsis 
tency, 56, 63; use of Chaitanya 
literature and methods, 47, 58, 443 ; 
other methods, 52, 56; works, 45, 
59, 61, 64; death, 68-9; portrait 
facing p. 55; see also plate X, 
facing p. 198. 

Khalsa, 337- 

Khalsa Advocate, 341. 

Khalsa College, 341, 342- 

Khalsa Young Men s Association, 343. 

Khanda-di-Pahul, 337. 

Khasis of Assam, 71. 

4 66 


Khuda Bukhsh, Prof., 99. 

Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, 147. 

Kiddle, Mr. H., 231, 256, 257. 

King, John, a spirit, 217, 220. 

King, Katie, a spirit, 217. 

King, the, visits India, 28, 362. 

Koot Hoomi, 227, 228, 234; his por 
trait, 232. 

Koot Hoomi letters, 231-2, 251, 
256-9, 454-5. 

Krishna, 292, 293, 295, 296, 364, 440. 

Krishnacharitra, 295. 

Krishnamurti = Alcyone, 274, 276. 

Krishnavarma, 358, 359. 

Kuch Behar Marriage, the, 53-4. 

Lajpat Rai, 358, 362. 

Leadbeater, C. W., 208, 271, 273-7, 

282 ff. 

Left-hand Saktas, 303-5, 421-2, 438. 
Leper work in missions, 24. 
Linga, 301, 435- 
Lingayat Conference, 302. 
Lingayat Education Association, 302. 
Lingayats, 301-3. 

Macauliffe, A. M., translates the 
Sikh Granth, 341. 

Madhava, 291, 293, 443. 

Madhava Prasad Saheb, 166. 

Madhava Rao, Sir T., 391. 

Madhavas, 291-3, 298. 

Madhava Siddhantonnahinl Sabha, 292, 

Madras Christian College Magazine, 
238, 239, 240, 244, 245. 

Madrasa-i-Ilahiyat, 350-1. 

Magic, 219, 221, 223, 267. 

Mahdmandal Magazine, 318. 

Mahdnirvdna Tantra, 304. 

Mahars, 368-9. 

Mahatma Morya, 227, 268. 

Mahatmas, see Masters. 

Mahavlra Brotherhood, 335. 

Mahdi, the, 138, 145-6. 

Malabari, B. M., 87, 380, 389, 396. 

Marriage Expenses, 309, 310, 342, 398, 

Marriage to an idol, a flower, etc., 

Mass Movements towards Chris 
tianity, 24. 

Masters, the (of Theosophy), 208, 
209, 220, 225, 227, 228, 233, 254, 
260, 261, 268, 280, 447-8; their 

supposed libraries in Tibet, 262, 
448; their Lodge, 227, 448. 

Mazdaznan, 346-7. 

Mead, G. R. S., 261, 272, 274, 289. 

Mech tribe of Assam, 134-5. 

Medical Mission work, 15, 20-1, 24. 

Messiah, the pretended, of Qadian 
138 ff. 

Minto, Lord, 28, 362. 

Miracle Club, the, 218. 

Mirza Ghulan Ahmad, 26, 137 ff. ; 
portrait facing p. 138. 

Missils of the Sikhs, 338. 

Missionary Methods, 6, 14-5, 19- 
21, 24-5; for Missionary Methods 
copied, see Christian influence. 

Missions, see Catholic Missions, Prot 
estant Missions. 

Modern Priestess of I sis, A, 209. 

Mohini Mohan Chatterji, 130, 236, 

Monotheism, 434. 

Morgan, Major-General, 252, 254. 

Morley, Lord, 362, 413. 

Moulvie Chiragh Ali, 97. 

Muhammadan Education, 5, 30, 91, 

Muhammadan Educational Confer 
ence, 95, 99. 

Muhammadan Ladies Conference, 95. 

Muhammadan Orthodoxy, 95, 99, 
347-52, 374- 

Muhammadan Reform, 91-100. 

Mula Sankara, 102. 

Muralis, 408. 

Music, 382-3, 409. 

Mu tazilites, 30, 96, 98. 

Mutiny, 10, u, 16, 92, 339. 

Mysore Lingayat Education Fund, 

Naba Bidhan, 56. 

Nadwat-ul-Ulama, 349-50. 

Nagarklrtana, 47, 293. 

NallasvamI Pijlai, 299, 300. 

Namasudras, 308, 369. 

Nanak, 336, 443. 

Nandeshwar Kothi, Benares, 165. 

Nanu Ashan, 312. 

Narendra Nath Dutt, 194. 

Nathu Sarma, 308. 

Nationalism, 26, 28, Chap. V, 437. 

National Social Conference, 390, 391-5. 

Naturis, 97. 

Nautch-girls, see Devadasls. 



Nazarene New Church, 148-50. 

Necharis, 97. 

Neo-Krishna movement, 294. 

New Dispensation Samaj, 55, 56, 63, 
389; its symbol, 56, 198; its Trini 
tarian theology, 68; its quarrels 
and subdivisions, 69 ; the Master s 
Ascension, 69; creed, 72-3. 

New India, 360. 

Nigamagama Mandall, 316. 

Nilakanthacharya, 300. 

Nimbarkas, 298. 

Nivedita, Sister, 202, 203, 205-6, 

Niyoga, 122. 

Noble, Miss, see Nivedita, Sister. 

Notovitch, Nicholas, 27, 140-1. 

Obscenities, 15, 19, 388, 410. 

Occultism, 223, 228, 245, 261, 267, 
271-2, 274-5, 282-5, 287, 289, 443. 

Occult Room in Theosophic head 
quarters, Madras, 232, 234-5, 236, 
242 ; plans of Occult Room, 234-5, 

Occult World, The, 231. 

Ointment of Jesus, 140, 144. 

Olcott, Henry Steel, 215, 216, 217, 

218-9, 221, 222, 224, 226, 236, 
237, 243, 244, 245, 247, 249, 250, 
254, 259, 266, 268-71, 273, 285. 

Order of the Rising Sun, 275. 

Order of the Star in the East, 

Orientalists, 5, 7, 16, 21, 25, 258, 261, 

263, 286, 288, 295, 433. 
Orphanages, 21, 342, 348, 412. 
Outcastes, see Depressed Classes. 

Padmanabha Char, C. M., 293. 

Palpu, Dr., 312. 

Panchamakara, 304. 

Panchatattva, 304. 

Pandian, Mr. T. B., 375. 

Pandit Din Dayal Sarma, 316, 317. 

Pandit Madan Mohan Malavlya, 319. 

Pandit Sastrlji Pade, 316. 

Pandit isiva Nath Sastri, 55. 

Pantheism, 434. 

Paramhamsa Sabha, 75. 

Parliament of Religions, 201. 

Parsees, 4, 81 f., 343-7, 405; Hindu 
influence, 83 ; rise of Avestan schol 
arship, 8 n., 85, 344 ; social and reli 
gious reform, 22, 84 ff., 388; P. 

education, 22, 84, 86; Theosophy 
among Parsees, 90; Parsee ortho 
doxy, 343-7- 

Partition of Bengal, 28, 361, 362. 
Patterson, the Rev. George, 231, 245. 
Phallus, 3, 301, 435. 
Phenomena, Theosophic, 228 ff., 233, 

239, 246, 254, 255-6. 
Philanthropy, 42, 48, 55, 156, 184, 

202, 388. 

Photographs and portraits used in 
worship and meditation, 166, 169, 
170, 179, 232-3, 261. 
PhulmanI DasI, 397. 
Pigot, Miss, 54. 
Pilgrimage, 121, 127, 337, 439. 
Pilgrim-tax, 9. 
Point Loma, 271. 
Polygamy, 15, 33, 83, 96, 98, 99, 184, 

Polytheism, 113, 115, 116, 131, 435. 
Poona Gayan Samaj, 383. 
Prabuddha Bhdrata, 207. 
Praise of Indian religions, civilization 
and art, 127, 204, 205, 345, 357, 
363, 382, 430. 

Prarthana Samaj, 22, 43, 76 ff., 
109-10, 307, 324, 419, 435, 436, 
439, 44i ; creed, 78, 80 ; social 
reform, 78, 391 ; work, 80-1 ; work 
for Depressed Classes, 81, 372. 
Pratap Chandra Mozoomdar, 49, 67, 

68, 69, 76, 199, 200. 
Protestant Missions, 5, 6-7, 8, 14-5, 
18, 19-21, 24-5 ; see also Missionary 
methods; for the influence of P. 
missions, see Christian influence. 
Psychic (technical term in Theos 
ophy), 265. 
Psychological interests of our time, 

Psychologize, as used by Madame 

Blavatsky, 284. 
Putana Chetty, Dewan Bahadur, 303. 

Qadianis, 137-48. 

Rabindra Nath Tagore, 70, 294,^82-6, 
404; portrait facing p. 376. 

Race-hatred and race-contempt, 356, 

Radha, 167, 293. 

Radha Soamis, 157, 160, 167-8; the 
gurus, 162-7; the Satsang, 157- 
72, 210, 434, 435, 436, 439, 440; 

4 68 


Radha Soami gardens, at Agra, 
163,166; at Benares, 1 65. 

Radhasvaml, 167. 

Raghunath Rao, Rai Bahadur, 391. 

Rahe Rust, 344. 

Rahnumai Mazdayasnan Sabha, 84, 
343, 388. 

Rai Saligram Saheb Bahadur, 157, 
163-4, 1 66, 167; portrait facing 
p. 167. 

Rajchandra Ravjibhai, 327-8; por 
trait facing p. 376. 

Raj Narayan Bose, 186. 

Ramabai, Pandita, 77, 43- 

Ramakrishna* Mission, 202-7, 39, 

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, 26, 50-1, 
57, 130, i88ff., 316, 434; birth, 188; 
no education, 188, 200; appointed 
priest, 1 88; passion for Kali, 189, 
190, 197; belief in idols, 189, 197; 
trances, 189, 190, 191-2; marriage, 
189, 192 ; teachers, 190-1 ; becomes 
a sannyasl, 191, 443 ; imagines 
himself Radha, 192 ; fights sex 
instinct, 196; fights caste instinct, 
193 ; fights love of money, 195 ; 
defends Hinduism, 51, 358; imag 
ines himself a Muhammadan, 193; 
has a vision of Jesus, 194; theory 
that all religions are true, 51, 187, 
194, 197-9; influences Keshab 
Chandra Sen, 50-1, 57-8, 194; s y m - 
bolical picture, 198-9; his God- 
consciousness, 195 ; passion for 
God, 195, 199; holds God non- 
moral, 196; all deities manifesta 
tions of God, 197; teaches rev 
erence for gurus, 197; personal 
influence, 199; his disciples, 51; 
character, 195-6; peculiarities, 200; 
portrait facing p. 195, see also 
Plate X, facing p. 198. 

Ramanan, V. V., 299. 

Ramananda, 443. 

Ramanuja, 297, 443. 

Ram Mohan Ray, 3, 16, 19, Q2, 96, 
415; birth, 29; a polygamist, 30; 
education, 30, 31; hatred of idola 
try, 30; studies other religions, 30, 
31; in Government service, 31; 
interest in British rule, 31, 36; re 
tires to Calcutta, 31; religious 
propaganda, 31 ; religious opinions, 
32, 36-9; as social reformer, 22, 33, 

36, 387; opposes sati, 33, 387; 
criticism of Hinduism, 438; founds 
Brahma Samaj, 22, 34; erects a 
building, 35; goes to England, 22, 
35; beliefs, 32, 35; works, 22, 31, 
32, 37 ; deism, 37 ; relation to 
Christ, 32, 36, 39, 58-9; relation 
to Christianity, 19, 32, 33, 34, 36, 
39, 59 > character and powers, 36 ; 
death, 36 ; portrait, 36, and Frontis 

Ranade, M. G., 76, 77, 78, 308, 388, 
391 ; portrait facing p. 76. 

Ranjit Singh, 338. 

Rast Goftar, 84, 344- 

Rationalism, of R. M. Ray, 37, 41; 
of Sir S. A. Khan, 97, 99- 

Reincarnation (in Theosophy), 282, 

Relic-worship, 163, 164, 165, 167, 169, 

Religious Nationalism, Chap. V. 

Religious Neutrality, n. 

Religious suicide, 388. 

Report of Observations, etc., a Theosophic 
pamphlet, 240, 453. 

Report of the Result, etc., a Theosophic 
Pamphlet, 249, 251, 254, 259, 449, 


Reunion All Round, 199. 
Review of Religions, 147. 
Rice-paper used for Koot Hoomi 

letters, 259, 268. 
Righteousness of God, 437. 
Right-hand S aktas, 303. 
Rukhmabai, 396. 
Russo-Japanese war, 28, 355, 360-1. 

Sacrifices, 115, 121, 131, 439- 
Sadharan Brahma Samaj, 38, 55, 

70-1, 174, 181, 389; creed, 72. 
Sadharana Dharma, 135-6. 
Sadharan Dharma Sabha, 57, 186. 
Sadh guru, 160. 

Sadr Anjuman-i-Ahmadiya, 146. 
Saiva Bhdshya, 300. 
Saiva Sabhas, 299. 
Saiva Siddhanta, 299. 
Saiva Siddhanta Mahasamajam, 3<>- 
Saktas, 30, 303- 
Sakti, 1 68, 303. 
Sakti-Visishtadvaita, 303- 
Salvation Army, 294, 424, 426-9; 

copied by Indian Movements, 127, 

174, 444. 



Samadhi, 163, 189, igi. 

Samskaras, see Domestic Ceremonies. 

Sanatana Dharma RakshinI Sabha 

Sanatan Dharma Sabha, 316. 

Sangat, 41 n. 

Sangat Sabha, 41. 

Sankara, 305, 313, 432, 443. 

Sanklrtana, 47, 293. 

Sannyasls, 105, 190, 191. 

Sant Sat guru, 160, 169. 

SarasvatI Dandis, 105. 

Sasipada Banerjea, 57, 186, 389, 403. 

SatI, see Widow-burning. 

Sat sang, 157. 

Satyarth Prakash, 109, in, 113. 

Seclusion of Women, see Zenana. 

Secrecy in religion, 162, 168, 169, 171, 

Secret Doctrine, the, 260, 261-4, 267. 

Sectarian movements, 291 ff. 

Sectarian Universities, 319, 352-3. 
Serampore Missionaries, 6, 10, 14, 15, 

32, 33, 34, 587, 401. 
Serampore Mission Press, 10. 
Servants of India Society, 376-80, 


Seva Sadan, 87, 380-2, 390. 
Shells (i.e. of spirits), 221. 
Shishir Kumar Ghose, 295. 
Shrine, the, at Theosophic head 
quarters, 232, 236, 237, 239, 241-3, 
247, 248, 250-1 ; plans of shrine- 
room, 324-5, 448-51. 
Siddhanta Dipikd, 300. 
Sidgwick, Prof. Henry, 244. 
Sikh Educational Conference, 342. 
Sikh gurus, 336-7. 
Sikhs, 336-43, 404. 
Sinclair Stevenson, Mrs., 102 n., 104, 


Singh, 337. 

Singh Sabhas, 341, 374. 
Sinnett, A. P., 212, 231, 250, 257, 259, 


Sircar Kamta Prasad, 166. 
Siva Dayal Saheb, 163, 164, 166-7; 
r portrait facing p. 167. 
Sivaji, 359. 
Sivanarayana Paramahamsa, 129 ff., 

436, 438, 439. 
Sivayogamandir, 302. 
Slavery, 18, 98, 146, 438. 
Sliding panels at Theosophic head 
quarters, 237, 238, 241. 

S^lokasangraha, 46. 

Smartas, 305-8, 434, 436. 

Smriti, 305. 

Social Reform, Chap. VI, also 15, 26, 

29, 41, 43, 48, 49, 55, 75, 78, 81, 84, 

127, 132, 146, 180, 277, 341, 342, 

437, 442. 
Social service, 48, 55, 133, 180, 202, 

206, 366-82, 404, 422-4, 437. 
Social Service League, 424. 
Social Study, Service and Exhibits, 423. 
Society for Psychical Research, 238, 

244, 255- 

Society for the Promotion of Higher 

Life, 182. 
Society for the Protection of Children 

in India, 414. 
Solovyoff, V. S., 209, 210, 212, 243, 

245, 253, 258 n., 259, 260, 266 n., 
284 n., 287. 

Song Celestial, the, 25, 296. 
Spirit of Islam, 98, 438. 
Spirit of Islam, the, 98. 
Spirit of Jainism, 334, 438. 
Spiritualism, 175, 177, 211, 212, 213-20, 


Sraddha, 121, 432. 
Srikara Bhdshya, 303. 
Sri Narayana Dharma Paripalana 

Yogam, 313. 

Sri Narayana GurusvamI, 312. 
Srlpati Panditaradhya, 303. 
SrI-Vaishnavas, 297-9. 
Srl-Visishtadvaita Siddhanta Sangam, 


Starte, O. H. B., 424 n. 
Steiner, Herr, 276. 
SthanakavasI Jains, 104, 326, 332 ; 

their Conference, 332. 
Student class, 24. 
Subba Rao, S., 293. 
Subodh Patrikd, 76, 80. 
S\iddhi Sabha, 323, 393. 
Sufis, 30, 138. 

Sundararaman, K., 305, 307. 
Surat Sabd Yoga, 159, 160, 161, 168. 
Suryodaya, 344. 

Svetambara Jains, 325, 326, 330-2; 
their Conference, 330-1 ; their 
temples, 325. 
Swadeshi movement, 365. 
Sweepers of Jullundur, 369. 
Syed Ahmad Khan, Sir, 22, 92 ff., 
*46, 347. 389; religious opinions, 



Syed Amir Ali, the Right Hon., 98, 

Syed Mahbub Shah, 150-1. 

Tahzibu l Akhldq, 93. 

Tantras, 190, 303. 

Taran Dal, 338. 

Tattvabodhini Patrikd, 39. 

Tattvabodhini Sabha, 39. 

Telepathy, 283, 286. 

Temperance, 342, 393, 421. 

Ten-galais, 297. 

Thagi, 17, 388, 425 n. 

Theosophical Myth, the, 209, 225, 
226-7, 260. 

Theosophical Society, 218-9, 316; its 
growth, 233. 

Theosophical Twins, the, 226. 

Theosophy, 27, 208 ff., 433, 434, 436; 
founded, 218-9; its teaching, 278- 
82; its occultism, 282-5, 289; 
secrecy, 282-3; attractions, 286-8; 
defends Hinduism, 277, 287-8, 289; 
value of its work, 288-9; its doc 
trine of brotherhood, 286, 288; 
charlatanism of its literature, 289; 
untrustworthiness of its historical 
books, 260; Theosophy among 
Par sees, 90, 344-5 ; among De 
pressed Classes, 374; relation to 
Radha Soami teaching, 172; to 
Christianity, 223, 225, 233, 272, 
289-91, 440. 

Tilak, B. G., 358, 359, 362. 

Tingley, Mrs. Katherine, 271. 

Tlrthakaras, 324. 

Tirujnana Sambandha SvamI Matha, 

Tiyas, 311-3, 368. 

Tonsure of Hindu widows, 401, 402. 

Townsend, Meredith, 12, 13. 

Transmigration and Karma, 38, 45, 
114, 115, 121, 127, 132, 168, 177, 
282, 290, 345, 385, 436, 440-1. 

Trumpp^ Dr. Ernest, translates the 
Sikh Adi Granth, 341- 

Tulsi Das, 443. 

Ubhayavedanta Pravartana Sabha, 

Udbodhan, 207. 

Unitarian Mission, the, 34. 

Unity and the Minister, 68. 

Universal Brotherhood and Theosophi 
cal Society, 270. 

Universal Education, 375~6, 416. 
Universities, founded, 18; Lord Cur- 

zon s Universities Act, 361. 
Upanishads, 8 n., 31, 32, 37, 39, 41, 

116, 207, 288, 438. 
Upasana Samaj, 42 n. 

Vada-galais, 297. 

Vaishnavas, of Orissa and the Telugu 
country, 296; Four Vaishnava 
sects in Conference, 298-9. 

Vallabhas, 298. 

Valmika Samaj, 369. 

Vedanta societies, 203. 

Veddnta-sutras, 32, 303, 443. 

Vedas, 40-1, 113-9, !27, 132. 

Veda Samaj, 42. 

Vedic Mission, 135-6. 

Vedic Salvation Army, 127. 

Villavas, 311. 

Virajananda, 106-8, 115. 

Vlra S*aivas, 301. 

Virashaiva Ashram, 302. 

Visishtddvaitin, the, 297. 

Vivekananda, 27, 195, 200-7, 357. 
358, 362, 431, 435, 438, 4445 Por 
trait facing p. 195. 

Vivekodaya, 313. 

Vokkaligara Patrikd, 315. 

Vokkaligara Sangha, 314. 

Vokkaligas, 314-6, 368. 

Walterkrit Rajputra Hitakarin! Sabha, 

398-9, 406. 

Web oj Indian Life, The, 205. 
Wellesley, 14; his college, 7, 10. 
Wellington, 14. 
Wenlock, Lord, 410. 
Westminster Gazette, The, 270. 
White, E. J. S., 149- 
Widow-asceticism, 401. 
Widow-burning, 9, n, I5i 16, 17, 33, 

337, 387, 4i-2, 417- 
Widow-remarriage, 15, 23, 43, 48, 

79, 121, 184, 342, 388, 389, 401-2, 

417, 432. 
Widows Homes, 21, 330, 342, 389, 

390, 393, 395, 403-4- 
Wilkins, Charles, 7, 296. 
Wilson, Dr. John, 20, 74, 84. 
Women Medical Missionaries, 21. 
Women Missionaries, 20. 
Women s work for women, 20, 24, 



World-spheres, 158, 168. 
World-Teacher, a new, prophesied, 

Yantra, 304. 

Young Men s Christian Association, 

25, 423; copied, 80, 125, 278, 329, 

343, 444. 

Zar-Adusht Hannish, 27, 346. 
Zenana, 83, 86, 98, 99, 173, 394, 

406-7, 417, 432. 
Zenana work, 20, 392. 
Zoroastrian Association, 346. 
Zoroastrian Conference, 88 ff., 345. 
Zoroastrianism, 81; an eclectic form 

of, 27, 346-7. 

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Man, " etc. Cloth, i2mo. $1.50 net. 
Dr. Matliews here enters upon the little explored territory _ of 
social theology. His general position is that the scientific theologian 
should approach his task through the social sciences, particularly 
history, rather than through philosophy. The main thesis of the 
book is that doctrines grow out of the same social forces as express 
themselves in other forms of life. Dr. Mathews finds seven creative 
social minds and treats the development of the various Christian 
doctrines as they have emerged from the earlier of these minds and 
must be created by our modern social mind. Such ^ a treatment of 
Christian doctrine serves to make theology a vital rather than 
a merely scholastic or ecclesiastical matter. The study of the 
social minds of the past, with their creative influence on Chris 
tianity, gives a point of view for the study of the intellectual needs 
of today s religion. This volume conserves the values of the 
religious thinking of the past, and is, in addition, a positive force 
in the reconstruction of the religious thinking of the day. 

The Christian Life in the Modem World 

By FRANCIS G. PEABODY, Author of "Jesus Christ 
and the Social Question," etc. Cloth, 12010. $1.25 

The purpose of this book is to meet the increasing impression that 
Christian idealism is inapplicable to the conditions of modern li 
and to indicate the terms and conditions on which these ideals may 
be perpetuated. There are chapters on The Practicability of the 
Christian Life, The Christian Life and the Modern Family, The 
Christian Life and the Business World, The Christian Life and the 
Making of Money, The Christian Life and the Using of Money, The 
Christian Life and the Modern State and The Christian Life and 
the Christian Church. 


Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York 


The Rise of Modern Religious Ideas 


Cloth, i2tno 

This volume is based upon the Earl Lectures given before the Pacific 
Theological Seminary, but the original material has been enlarged 
entirely rewritten and the lecture form abandoned. The work is 
wholly historical in character and supplements the author s Protestant 
thought before Kant. "As is well known," says Dr. McGiffert, "our 
age is marked by the growing abandonment of the old theology and 
by the increasing prevalence of religious ideas differing more or less 
completely from those of other days. It is with these newer ideas that 
my book has particularly to do. It undertakes to trace their origin 
to indicate the circumstances under which they have arisen and to show 
the influences by which they have been determined." 

The Gospel of Jesus and the 
Problems of Democracy 


Professor of Church History in Crozer Theological Seminary and author of Social- 
ism and the Ethics of Jesus," The Reformation in Germany," etc. 

Cloth, i2tno, $1.50 net 

"We need a reconstructed theology. The theology of all churches 
has been dominated by monarchical ideas ; it needs to be recast in the 
mould of democracy ; it has been permeated with ideas of social privi 
lege such as were favorable when aristocracy ruled the world it needs 
to be restated in terms of equal rights." These sentences from Dr. 
Vedder s preface at once show his viewpoint. The Gospel and the 
Awakening Church, The Problem of Social Justice, The Woman Prob 
lem, The Probkm of the Child, The Problem of the Slum, The Prob 
lem of Vice, The Problem of Crime, The Problem of Disease, The 
Problem of Poverty, The Problem of Lawlessness - these are the 
topics of the ten chapters. The book is undoubtedly one of the most 
important contributions to the study of present day religion that has 

yet been published. 


Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York 


The Man of Nazareth 


Cloth, ismoy $f.oo net 

This is a study of the life of Christ written not for theologians, but 
for the average man and woman. The most important problems about 
Jesus and his career and the conditions of his time are related with a 
simplicity that will commend the book to those who find so much of 
religious writing vague and unsatisfactory. Dr. Anderson has not 
sought to solve disputed questions, but rather to present in a clear 
light the broad and generally accepted facts of the Saviour s life, and 
while there is no ponderous show of learning the volume is undoubt 
edly the result of many years of hard study and application to the 

Live and Learn 


Cloth, I2mo, $f.oo net 

An exceedingly practical little book is this one in which the distin 
guished clergyman and writer seeks to impress upon his readers the 
necessity of getting possession of themselves. Learning how to see, 
how to think, how to speak, how to hear, how to give, how to serve, 
how to win and how to wait these are the author s themes. The 
chapters are interesting because of the happy fashion in which Dr. 
Gladden clothes his thoughts ; they are valuable in that they contain 
the wise counsel of a mature mind in which are arranged and stored 
the products of a long experience. The work is especially suited to 
young people of the high school age, for example. It will assist 
them to obtain and maintain a proper adjustment toward life. It will, 
however, be read with no less profit by all whose minds are open, who 
are willing to learn, whether they be sixteen or sixty. 


Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York 

BL Farquhar, John Nicol 

2001 Modern religious movements 

F3 in India